More than 140 LGBTQ+ activists in Arizona have signed an open letter calling on Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema to support ending the filibuster.
The activists and donors who signed the letter say that they will pull their support of the out bisexual senator if she does not assist in getting rid of the filibuster for good.
“Arizona can be a leader in this fight,” the letter states, noting the number of queer and trans residents in Phoenix is a higher percentage of the population than New York, Silicon Valley, or Chicago. “We have the power to lead the nation on queer and transgender rights”
Many see the filibuster as a significant obstacle standing in the way of passing the Equality Act, which would ensure protections for LGBTQ+ are enshrined in the Constitution. Sinema is a co-sponsor of the bill.
“By casting the decisive vote to end the filibuster, you would open the flood gates of possibility to pass popular reforms supported by the majority of Americans,” the letter reads.
The filibuster refers to an attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill. It’s used by opponents of a bill to stop it from being brought to a vote.
The letter states that the filibuster, “is an undemocratic relic of Jim Crow era racism and minority repression. The longstanding tradition of the filibuster has been to block the civil rights of queer and transgender Americans.”
In an op-ed in The Washington Post on Monday, Sinema — who is one of a small group of Democrats opposing the end of the filibuster — explained that she believes the filibuster produces bipartisan cooperation.
“My support for retaining the 60-vote threshold is not based on the importance of any particular policy. It is based on what is best for our democracy. The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles,” Sinema stated.
Sinema’s stance on the filibuster is only her latest move against President Joe Biden’s agenda, some Democrats have said.
“I wasn't out of the closet when I was knocking on doors for Kyrsten Sinema,” the activist behind the open letter, Joan Arrow, told them, “But I knew in my soul that we need more LGBTQ senators in positions of power because our people need to be protected. I believed the lies that Sinema told to get elected, that she would look out for us.”