Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) defends the right to fire LGBT employees.

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) defends the right to fire LGBT employees. September 8, 2014

One of North Carolina’s reps in the House thinks businesses should be able to fire gay people simply for being gay.  You can probably guess his political party.

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) compared the right to fire gay workers with the right to smoke cigarettes on private property, ThinkProgress reports.

Said Pittenger: “You need to respect the autonomy of somebody running their business. It’s like smoking bans. Do you ban smoking or do people have the right to private property?  I think people have the right to private property. In public spaces, absolutely, we can have smoking bans. But we don’t want to micromanage people’s lives and businesses. If you have a business, do you want the government to come in and tell you you need to hire somebody? Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?”

But we already tell people how they cannot run their business.  For instance, you can’t fire black people for being black and you can’t fire women for being women.  You can’t pay your employees beneath a certain amount and you can’t work them more than a certain number of hours without compensating them to a legally mandated degree.  In many places in this country, we also tell restaurants that they can’t allow smoking inside, so that’s a terrible example.  The point is that in America businesses are subject to particular rules that make sure they don’t undermine the diversity and equality that has been the American ideal since the country was conceived.

But say you can’t fire gay people for no fucking reason?  Then you’re trespassing on people’s right to run their business however they want.  You’re “imposing on their freedoms” as if the freedom to discriminate in your business is even a thing in a land that promises liberty and justice for all – including racial minorities, women, and even gay people.


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