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Potential VP Candidate Thinks Businesses Should Be Able To Fire Someone For Being Gay

Potential VP Candidate Thinks Businesses Should Be Able To Fire Someone For Being Gay

 

Written by Scott Keyes and Annie-Rose Strasser

WASHINGTON, DC — Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), best known as the “boring” choice atop Mitt Romney’s vice presidential list, told ThinkProgress Thursday that he doesn’t believe it should be illegal to fire someone for being gay because doing so would make businesses less “comfortable.”

In an interview at the Faith & Freedom Conference, Portman explained why he opposes the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban firing someone because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. “What I’m concerned about in Paycheck Fairness and other legislation like that is the fact that it will spawn a lot of litigation the way the legislation is written,” the Ohio Senator said. He worried that the legislation “would make it more difficult for employers to feel comfortable.”

KEYES: The Senate’s going to be taking up the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. Do you think that it ought to be illegal to fire someone for being gay in the United States?

PORTMAN: I don’t believe in discrimination…

KEYES: But whether or not it should be legal.

PORTMAN: What I’m concerned about in Paycheck Fairness and other legislation like that is the fact that it will spawn a lot of litigation the way the legislation is written. So you don’t want it to be a boon to lawyers, you want it to actually help people. But no one should discriminate.

KEYES: So you’re worried that people might actually take up claims that they were discriminated against?

PORTMAN: [...] A lot of them would create a lot of legal rights of action that would make it more difficult for employers to feel comfortable, to be able to hire, and to keep this economy moving. So you have to be careful how you do it.

Watch it:

Portman’s principal objection to making it illegal to fire someone for being gay, in other words, is that people who are discriminated against might have the gall to take legal action.

Portman was correct about one thing: if Congress were to finally make it illegal to fire someone because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, a lot of lawsuits could ensue. That’s only a bad thing if one wants to preserve businesses’ ability to discriminate. Lawsuits are the sole mechanism by which most laws are enforced in this country. Without lawsuits, the South would still be segregated, ten year-olds would still work in mines, and there would be no minimum wage. Research shows that 42 percent of LGB workers and 90 percent of transgender workers have experienced workplace discrimination. Unless people can take action in court, Portman’s feel-good belief that “no one should discriminate” is meaningless.

Over 70 percent of Americans support legislation protecting LGBT people from workplace discrimination, and 9 in 10 mistakenly believe that a federal law doing so already exists. Unfortunately, the frontrunner to be the Republican vice presidential nominee is not among them.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.

 

Related Stories:

He’s Making a Vice President List, Checking it Twice…

Business World ‘Intolerant of Homosexuality,’ Says BP Former Chief Exec

Ten GOP Senators File Brief in Support of DOMA

 

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Photo from Ashley Halsey Hemingway via flickr

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150 comments

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9:05AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

J.L. A. said:

"scary that a potential VP candidate is concerned that people would actually use the law to protect their constitutional rights...seems like a position that only some people/businesses deserve rights..."

This position is universal among the new "corporatists". They want each blue collar crime prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law while they insist the Wall Street fraudsters that destroyed the world economy go scott free.

It is necessary to inform the voters that Portman (and Romney, of course) want a different standard of justice for regular "workers" than for CEOs and other elites.

6:23AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

scary that a potential VP candidate is concerned that people would actually use the law to protect their constitutional rights...seems like a position that only some people/businesses deserve rights...

10:40AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

Dorothy, Just one question. Whose standards do we use to determine the groups whose members are unfit for public office? Would you trust mine? Should I trust yours?

5:05AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

Don't these politician take oaths (and most them make it an oath to God as well may I add) to uphold the law and the rights of all American citizens?
How does being gay neutralize American citizenship?

3:20AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

I want to see federal legislation protecting not only LGBTQ people, but also other types of persons who are discriminated against in hiring, like those with tattoos. I shouldn't be considered 'unsuitable' just because my body has ink in it, any more than someone should for having a gender switch or something like that.

11:22PM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

......again I am thankful for free speech!! Now every one knows where this guy is at...! yeah.. pass it on.

11:22PM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

@Dorothy, I'm not going to "boo" you. I do wonder, though, what in the world your post has to do with the thread?

8:30PM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

What about being allowed to fire for someone for being Republican?

7:19PM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

Juanita, You make a lot more sense than most people on this site when they want another law to protect sinners that will be used to drain all businesses that want to fire some lazy person for not pulling his weight, without regard to his sexual orintation. The cost of all goods from vegetables to house will go up out of site, even more than we have seen under Obama.

10:37AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

I should add that I'm an ex-pat of the U.S.living in Canada and it is nothing short of frightening to watch the idiotic workings of the U.S.from here.

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