Democrat Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey requested $1 million of federal funding for the Philadelphia-based William Way LGBT Community Center, which has hosted drag shows and expressed support for communism, as part of the FY 2024 appropriations bill. Casey, along with Sen. John Fetterman (D, PA) and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D, PA) had advocated for the community center to be included in the Federal Community Project Funding within the Appropriations Committee’s spending.
Earlier this month, House Republicans put a stop to a plan to subsidize the center through the House of Representatives. On July 18, the House Appropriations Committee voted 32-26 to deny Rep. Boyle’s application for an earmark of $1.8 million to be given to the William Way Center. Rep. Boyle was quick to declare the opposition to this appropriation “outrageous and disgusting bigotry” and concluded that the only programs that Republicans opposed funding “were the three with LGBT or LGBTQ in the organization’s name.”
However, the William Way Center’s activities and ideological affiliation may have been more to blame for the denial of funds than its status as an LGBT center. Mere months before Sen. Casey and Rep. Boyle requested the funds, the center hosted a drag show which focused on environmentalism and colonialism. Furthermore, the center hosted a drag show in 2016 which featured 11, 12, and 8-year-old minors performing as part of the show.
Beyond its hosting of child drag shows, the William Way Center has also given support to the Young Communist League of Philadelphia by advertising a series of protests by the League against Moms for Liberty, a parents’ rights organization.
Even so, this failure does not seem to have deterred the Democratic supporters of the William Way Center. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D, PA) who worked with Rep. Boyle to support the attempted funding, suggested that Sens. Casey and Fetterman might have better luck attempting to fund the center through the Senate “which does not have the same constrictions on community projects.”
Sen. Casey would do well consider the advice given by Rep. Ryan Zinke (R, MT) who chastised the proposed funding before it was blocked by the Appropriations Committee:
“An appropriation also should be appropriate.”