A couple weeks ago, Rep. James Lankford, a Republican (duh) from Oklahoma, told Think Progress that he thinks it should be legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation. This week he doubled down on it and went on a wingnut radio show to defend himself, babbling like an idiot in the process. Here’s what he told TP:
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.
And here’s what he said on Tony Perkins’ radio show:
Perkins: The idea there is they’re looking for special protections; your point is that everybody should be treated equally, no one should be fired or denied employment based upon their sexual orientation, in the ideal world we won’t even know about it, why would we even ask that question?
Lankford: Right. But neither should you have a situation where no one can fire you because of your behavior outside of the workplace, we also should not be in a situation where there are special protections extended to say ‘if I have a certain sexual behavior then you can no longer fire me, I’m a protected class and I can do whatever I want in the workplace,’ that’s not true either. So we are trying to be able to keep that balance, when you say you create special rights you also create special privileges and protections to say that they are untouchable in the workplace and they can have any kind of work conduct they choose to on that, that’s not correct. This is one of those instances where we look at every individual as created in the image of God, every person as valuable to God but every person has to be able to show that they are going to work hard and do the right thing in the workplace and outside.
Great, so you’re fine with removing religion as a prohibited basis for discrimination, right? People change their religion all the time, so it’s clearly a choice. They’re obviously demanding “special protections” that should only be accorded based on immutable traits, right? Right? Yeah, I didn’t think so.