Oklahoma Representative James Lankford in a video interview released by ThinkProgress says that being gay is a choice and is not the same as race, whereby he implies that anti-discrimination laws should perhaps not apply the same. Watch the video below:
Those comments once again:
STRASSER: Would you support a law that says you can’t fire someone for their sexual orientation —
KEYES: Similar to protections for people on race or gender?
LANKFORD: Well, you’re now dealing with behavior and I’m trying to figure out exactly what you’re trying to mean by that. Because you’re dealing with — race and sexual preferences are two different things. One is a behavior-related and preference-related and one is something inherently — skin color, something obvious, that kind of stuff. You don’t walk up to someone on the street and look at them and say, “Gay or straight?”
KEYES: But you think that even if you can’t see they’re that way, you don’t think someone is born gay necessarily?
LANKFORD: Do I personally? No. I don’t. I think it’s a choice issue. Are tendencies and such? Yes. But I think it’s a choice issue.
Rep. Lankford there proving that despite a whole host of scientific research and statements from various clinicians in affirmation of the fact that whatever causes homosexuality it is immutable and therefore not a choice, he thinks he knows better. And before the inevitable “this is my religious belief” defense surfaces from Lankford, a person can hold whatever beliefs on this issue that they like but that doesn’t make what they believe true. Only supporting evidence does that, and the evidence is not on his side.
Religious conservative Republicans like Rep. Lankford, and of course Rep. Allan West, seem to have an issue with employment protections that puts them out of step with Republican voters who overwhelmingly poll in favor of employment protections for LGBTs, and their own party where there are a number of moderate lawmakers who support the move.
Only last week a bipartisan group of senators issued a letter asking for a senate committee hearing on the Employment Non Discrimination Act that would prevent workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee is now set to take up the issue later this month. The outlook for ENDA in the House is less promising however.
Image taken from video, no infringement intended.