Cross-posted from Mike Malloy
Another day, another story of a pasty white Republican politician who wants to legalize discrimination against a minority group. Sometimes it's women, sometimes it's Hispanics or African Americans; sometimes it's the poor (not much of a minority anymore). This time it's homosexuals.
US Representative Robert Pittenger is from Charlotte North Carolina and he thinks it's just fine for a boss to fire employees because they're gay. Yup, he said it. And three guesses how he voted in Monday's procedural vote on pay equality for women.
Why is he so passionate about defending the private sector's right to discriminate against gays? Pittenger says laws that would prevent workplace discrimination and protect gays in the workforce violate "the freedoms we enjoy."
Uh-huh. Like the freedom to fire somebody because you don't agree with their sexual orientation. The freedom to bully. The freedom to hate.
This is from The Charlotte Observer:
"As House Democrats made a Hail Mary attempt to force a vote on laws to protect gays in the workplace, Rep. Robert Pittenger, a Charlotte Republican, continued to stand by comments he made earlier this month that businesses should be free to fire employees based on their sexual orientation.
"'It's incredibly hard to operate or start a business already, and I don't think America is begging for more obstacles to an economic recovery,' he said in the statement. 'Where does it stop? Is the next regulation going to prohibit a layoff even during an economic downturn? Will the next law mandate full employment?'
"Pittenger stirred up the gay rights debate when he told liberal political blog ThinkProgress this month that governments shouldn't 'impose on the freedoms we enjoy.' Asked his opinion about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act pending in Congress, Pittenger compared adding more laws to protect gays in the workplace to smoking bans -- which he said are fine for public places, but he questioned the government role when it comes to private spaces.
"On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sought to force the hand of Pittenger, Boehner and other Republican opponents. She joined other Democratic leaders in announcing a procedural push to force a vote on the bill.
"'Unfortunately, in South Carolina and 28 other states it is still legal to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation,' Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, D-S.C., said Wednesday during a press conference. 'And that is, plain and simple, wrong.' Gay rights activists called Pittenger's comments 'absurd' and argued that discrimination in the workplace because of someone's sexual orientation goes against American values.- Advertisement -
"'Rep. Pittenger's ill-informed opinion is also not consistent with the fair-minded opinion of most Americans,' said David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization. 'The vast majority of Americans back commonsense workplace protections for LGBT Americans.' Staffers for Pittenger said they've received no negative calls about his comments and that no constituents brought the issue up at any of the congressman's 13 town hall events over the last two months."