House Democrats shouted "Shame!" at Republicans after seven GOP congressmen changed their votes, causing an amendment that would protect LGBT workers from discrimination to fail.
Out Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney introduced the amendment in response to the defense authorization bill that passed Wednesday, which included a "religious exemption" amendment allowing federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT workers on religious grounds.
The "religious exemption" provision overturns an executive order from President Obama that prohibits government contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT discrimination against their employees.
It first appeared as if Maloney's amendment to the defense bill passed because the tally included 217 "yes" votes and 206 "no" votes, reports The Hill. The bill required 213 votes to pass.
Several Republican congressmen changed their vote at the last minute after the clock expired, altering the vote to 212-213, which caused the amendment to fail.
The seven Republicans who changed their vote were Reps. Jeff Denham, Darrell Issa, Bruce Poliquin, David Valadao, Greg Walden, Mimi Walters, and David Young, reported House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked whether the Republicans who switched their votes were "pressured" to do so. "I don't know the answer. I don't even know," said the speaker.
"This is federalism; the states should do this. The federal government shouldn't stick its nose in its business,” he told reporters.
Maloney accused Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of convincing House Republicans to change their votes. Maloney claimed McCarthy "went around and twisted everybody else's arms."
"This is one of the ugliest episodes I've experienced in my three-plus years as a member of this House," Maloney said.
Maloney did not specify which Republicans approached him but said "easily a dozen" came forward "and expressed disgust for what happened today," reports The Hill.
The Human Rights Campaign condemned the vote. In a statement, HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said, “A handful of House members shamefully changed their votes, enabled their leaders who want to write discrimination into federal law, and left LGBT Americans at risk for being fired or denied a job for who they are or who they love.”
Watch a video of Democrats shouting "Shame!" below.