Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) took his opposition to President Barack Obama's health care law to his constituents last week, blasting certain aspects of the overhaul at a town hall meeting. Amid a broader critique of Obamacare, Broun explained he opposes health insurance covering sex-change or hair-transplant procedures because he personally likes "being a boy," the Barrow County News reports.
"I don't want to pay for a sex-change operation," Broun told town hall attendees, presumably referring to a proposal, scrapped by the Obama administration late last month, that would have allowed gender confirmation surgeries to be covered under Medicare and Medicaid. "I'm not interested. I like being a boy."
In his comments, Broun, a candidate for U.S. Senate, echoed a tone recently used by outgoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the man he is seeking to replace, to explain his opposition to gay marriage.
"I’m not gay. So I’m not going to marry one," Chambliss told Politico.
Broun's quick dismissal of topics such as gender identity isn't particularly surprising. Broun has maintained steadfast opposition to gay marriage and LGBT rights. In 2009, he introduced a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
And Broun has made a name for himself with controversial quotes and stances on a variety of other issues. Earlier this year he took pride in his self-proclaimed status as the first congressman to call Obama a "socialist." Last year, Broun, a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, drew nationwide scrutiny after referring to scientific principles such as evolution and the big bang theory as "lies straight from the pit of hell." He was later reappointed to the committee.
Broun's brand of rigid conservatism and occasional over-the-top commentary has reportedly caused problems for Republican leadership as he and other Georgia Republicans -- such as Rep. Phil Gingrey -- jockey for early position in the state's GOP Senate primary.