More than 140 LGBTQ+ activists in Arizona have signed an open letter to out bisexual Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) demanding that she support the effort to reform an antiquated filibuster.
The activists are threatening to pull their support of Sinema if she doesn’t get behind the issues that are vital to her LGBTQ constituents who voted for her largely because of her identity as an out and proud member of the LGBTQ community.
“As the first openly Bisexual member of the Senate, we look to you to lead in the fight for queer and transgender civil rights, to protect our people from violence and discrimination,” reads the letter, which has been signed by the group of prominent LGBTQ business owners, activists and community leaders.
“You have the power to cast the deciding vote to make [queer and trans] rights law,” the letter continued. “Our right to exist, and the rights of black and brown transgender women to live are not up for debate or compromise. Unless we end the filibuster, the Equality Act has no chance of passing the Senate in this polarized climate.”
The filibuster is a serious obstacle to passing the Equality Act, of which Sinema is a sponsor, which would provide comprehensive federal protections for the LGBTQ+ community.
With the Senate split, Sinema’s support for equal rights legislation, voting rights, and increasing the minimum wage is pivotal. But currently, Republicans can filibuster and force the Senate to require 60 votes to proceed to an actual vote. Sinema has refused to support ending the filibuster.
Sinema has publicly said she believes the filibuster encourages bipartisanship but others say it is a legacy of old Jim Crow laws.
The letter to Sinema concludes by warning the Senator that if she does not alter her stance on the filibuster, she will lose the support of its signatories. The open letter may be read in full here.
Polls indicate support for Sinema is slipping and there is growing discontent on social media with the Senator's shift to the Right.