Rep. Lankford Doubles Down, Defends Comments on Employers Being Able to Fire Gay Employees
Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) earlier this week told Think Progress that being gay is a “sexual preference” and a “choice issue,” and that he wouldn’t support employment protection legislation because people aren’t born gay. While speaking with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins today on Washington Watch Weekly, Lankford insisted that being gay is a behavioral choice and people shouldn’t receive “special privileges” for it in the workplace:
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.
He also spoke with Perkins and American Family Association president Tim Wildmon on Today’s Issues where he distorted the Think Progress report while accusing them of misrepresenting what he said, which he apparently doesn’t realize is on video.
Perkins: This is really a case study on how the left is working these days, what they do is they go and they try to ambush somebody and get them to say something or say something and take it completely out of context in which they made those comments, they slap a false headline on it, and then they feed that to the more, and I say more not ‘completely,’ legitimate news outlets, it gets on to places like MSNBC and they just hound it. I wonder though, Congressman, does this really get beyond the liberal media? How many normal people actually watch these things and respond to them?
Lankford: Well, it depends on what they are picking up and what they are reading and who else picks it up. When they throw an inflammatory headline out there saying, ‘Congressman Supports Firing People Because They Are Gay,’ then immediately people begin to pick it up and say ‘oh goodness.’ Of course when you read the story, there is no story in it, there is no fact to that headline, but it even reached into Fox News.
Actually, that wasn’t the headline, which is: “GOP Rep. Lankford Explains Why It Should Be Legal To Fire Someone For Being Gay: ‘It’s A Choice Issue.’” Think Progress did not claim that Lankford wants to fire people for being gay but said he thinks it should be legal for employers to do so.
Immediately following Lankford’s appearance, Wildmon lashed out at LGBT-rights advocates for their “vile, wicked, [and] evil ways,” which he says reveals “the depravity of that lifestyle,” while Perkins astoundingly maintained that the Religious Right never speaks poorly of the LGBT community:
Wildmon: These homosexual and lesbian, transgender, bisexual, I don’t know if there’s any other word left that they are using now, these activists out there, they act in the most vile, wicked, evil ways, I’m telling you.
Perkins: Everything they accuse Christians of doing, which they don’t generally do, I have not found many on this side, if they do they are not acting in the character of Christ, but they do everything they accuse everybody else of doing.
Wildmon: Oh yeah, they will threaten you, they will call you names, they will post things on your Facebook pages and things like that and it just shows the depravity of that lifestyle, quite frankly, not all of them but a lot of the activists, man they are vile.
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