Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation

Congressman defends remarks that employers should be able to fire gay employees

BRIAN TASHMAN | Right Wing Watch
Friday, May 18, 2012

Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) 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.

James Lankford

While speaking with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins Friday 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:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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.

© Right Wing Watch. An LGBTQ Nation media partner.

Archives: , , , ,

Filed under: Newsmakers

76 more reader comments:

  1. asshole!

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:34pm
  2. I second Darrell on that

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:35pm
  3. Can’t help by this guy is closeted and hates himself so he takes his hate on everybody else.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:35pm
  4. We are wicked, wicked people! LOL, douchebag.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:36pm
  5. Until he gets caught snorting coke off many an intern dick. I can smell my own kind and this guy reeks of homo. Classic deflection.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:36pm
  6. What an idiot.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:36pm
  7. You just know he will be coming out of the Closet soon and repenting.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:36pm
  8. ASK THAT JERK WHEN HE CHOSE TO BE STRAIGHT!!!

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:37pm
  9. How about a bill which says you can fire red haired closeted congressmen with a bad hair cut?

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:38pm
  10. I think he should be fired from Congress in the nearest election for being st00pid.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:38pm
  11. I predict the next politician to be outed will be THIS GUY^

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:38pm
  12. being republican is a choice should we be able to fire people because of that . for that matter being christian is to should that be on the list

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:39pm
  13. Hmmm…do you think he’d defend the right of gay employers to fire hetero employees? I doubt it. What a bigot.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:39pm
  14. Then employers would have the right to fire him. The point is, it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or not when it’s legal to discriminate. And Breonna, that would be my guess to—- right up there with Rick Santorum and Jason Russell.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:39pm
  15. Is that his real hair color? Everyonce in awhile one of these guys creeps out from under a rock…

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:39pm
  16. amen Dale.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:39pm
  17. hope the Oklahomos fire his stupid ass

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:40pm
  18. Takes one to know one/

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:40pm
  19. mental patientin u.s.house,wanted alive or d*ed!

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:40pm
  20. They have all kinds of crazy in Oklahoma, and he’s proof!

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:41pm
  21. Fire gay employees ??? I bet some gays are better at their jobs than straight people ! Willing to fire a gay employee that does exceptional work JUST because they like people of the same-sex? This world is seriously out of CONTROL.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:42pm
  22. Pig.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:42pm
  23. I’m from oklahoma and im ashamed to say this man represents my state…

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:44pm
  24. - Employers should, /more/ logically, be able to fire people based on their political preferences – for example, social-reactionary politicians, who have made a very clear “choice” to be willfully-clueless bigots.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:44pm
  25. lol he looks gayier than some of my gay friends

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:45pm
  26. Even though, educated doctors, psychologists, the organizations they belong to say that homosexuality is an orientation not a ‘choice’, and since this fool belongs to the bigoted, ignorant like fools we should have a ‘choice’ to fire him for his dangerous views.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:47pm
  27. It’s just ignorance..we(gay,lesbian,granny’s and all of us under the rainbow) have the same rights as everyone else…he’s a racist pig.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:47pm
  28. DB alert!

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:48pm
  29. I meant tranny’s :-)

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:48pm
  30. i am ashamed to live in oklahoma

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:50pm
  31. weasel

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:51pm
  32. This guy should be fired.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:52pm
  33. So if no one should be protected because of their sexual orientation, means it is okay to fire straight people too for what they do behind closed doors? After all, being straight is a sexual orientation as well.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:52pm
  34. then we the people have the right to sack your ass because we do not tolerate bigots in congress!

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:58pm
  35. republicans made those same comments when the civil rights movement was in full swing. and when interracial marriages were being contested….https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=297578073615724&set=a.277132635660268.67286.100000906002639&type=3&theater

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:59pm
  36. I wonder what is that nasty creature with red hair hiding in his closet…..mmmmmm

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:00pm
  37. he is SO gay…look close, I think I see a little cum running down his chin. Boyfriend probably cut him off.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:00pm
  38. PLEASE PLEASE feel free to email him https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/RepLankford I am sad to say that he is MY congressman because I live in District 5:-( I do NOT want this man to represent me!! I am also a republican and I am so saddened by his comments. I am and never would try to change his convictions but cmon HOW can ANYONE feel that someone should be fired for being gay??!! I am a single Mom raising 3 children without welfare so lets fire me because I am gay!! That makes no sense!! I am also a Christian but I missed the part of the Bible that said we are allowed to discriminate with people because we disagree.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:01pm
  39. I am from Oklahoma and he said on our local news he did NOT say this!! I mean I hate him as much as you all. I pretty much hate all politicians with an (R) by thier name. But he said he did NOT support this. Unless you can get a video of HIM saying he hates this I am gonna take this with a grain of salt.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:02pm
  40. I’m going to standby this remark… We should be able to recall legislators that advocate repressing the rights of minorities. At the very least, we can vote them out of office!!!

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:04pm
  41. If being gay is a choice, as this guy asserts…then so is being straight…in which case…what makes being straight okay and being gay not?

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:05pm
  42. Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:11pm
  43. hes going to be one of hose who comes out as being gay himself later just watch.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:13pm
  44. That guy’s the real fag….

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:14pm
  45. Douche

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:18pm
  46. then Oklahoma has the right to vote him out of office

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:19pm
  47. he’s wearing a red tie, thats a choice so we should be able to fire him right?!

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:22pm
  48. The Congressman sets up a straw man argument that protection against being fired on the basis of ones sexuality would mean that no gay employee could ever be fired regardless of the quality of their work or their behaviour at work. This is clearly NOT what the law would provide. It simply would mean that you can’t fire someone BECAUSE they’re gay. You can still fire them if their conduct at work is unacceptable, if they are consistently poor at their job, or if, e.g. they embezzle funds from their employer.

    I assume the congressman is not ~actually~ stupid. He knows what the law would (and would not) say.

    He is disingenuous and bigoted.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:23pm
  49. he said it was a choice. He did not straight out say gay people should be fired. On our local news he did straight out said he was AGAINST it. I am really not trying to defend him. Like I said I want all Republicans OUT of office. Just trying to make sure we don’t stoop to their levels. I don’t want to start an argument. Just trying to get the facts

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:31pm
  50. Why do they always put there foot in their mouth.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:35pm
  51. Rob, did you watch the video I posted? Yes, he said they twisted his words but it’s video lol I AM a Christian, republican and gay woman and *I* want the bigot out of office. I have no problem with people having their own beliefs and convictions but when they take away MY human rights, I have a problem. Btw none of this was said with tone or attitude:-)

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:37pm
  52. How do these people get so moronic, is it something in the water?

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:37pm
  53. ” If you are going to act like a bitch, then you are going to die like a bitch.” Madonna

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:43pm
  54. Why is it these fools always look like the biggest queers?

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:48pm
  55. Congressman needs some help, spiritually and psychologically. Can we come up with a reality show called “Political Intervention” and air the pilot the week before election day? Motivate some people!!!

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:55pm
  56. he’s gay, lol

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:00pm
  57. Yes, employers should be able to fire gay people, just like any other person, if it is based on work performance not orientation.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:02pm
  58. He looks gay and I think he’s pretending not to be just like other gay Republicans. He’s fired.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:14pm
  59. How does this not sound like discrimination to this congressman?

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:19pm
  60. “But Darling you know I only paid that hot early 20s man to carry the bags on that cruise”…….

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:21pm
  61. Then according to your logic, I can fire you Mr. Lankford for being uneducated and having an inferiority complex.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:27pm
  62. That doesn’t even make sense, all homophobes are he ones who should be fired.

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:35pm
  63. the*

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:36pm
  64. another hateful person

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10:52pm
  65. AND employers should be able to fire a Christian or a Muslim….a Christian too…

    Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 11:40pm
  66. Gonorrhea of the mouth for sure!

    Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 12:33am
  67. What an idiot. Ya know those who are in the closet (congressman) are the first to criticize other gays.

    Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 2:34am
  68. i give him the benefit of the doubt that he was born an asshole and cant help it,, least he could do…

    Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 2:34am
  69. anoter DB!

    Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 5:29am
  70. Just another dickhead.

    Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 6:42am
  71. I can choose to become Muslim and that is protected, even though I wasn’t born Muslim. So what’s the difference? Marital Status is another one, I wasn’t born married but I can CHOOSE to get married and that is protected, I can choose to get pregnant, I wasn’t born pregnant, but that is protected and so on and so on in that fashion….

    Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 10:17am
  72. I emailed the Reps facebook which isnt actaully his but run by one of his press ppl. i hope to hear what they think….this is what i wrote i know many of you will be mad at me but o well this is how i really feel about it. Dear Rep James In regards to your discussion about homosexuality being a protected status. I can choose to become Muslim and that is protected, even though I was not born Muslim. Marital Status is another protected status, I wasn’t born married but I can choose to get married and that is protected. I can choose to get pregnant, I wasn’t born pregnant, but that is protected and so on and so on in that fashion…. I am a lesbian, and I am aware that I am choosing to live as a lesbian. I know that if I chose to I could find a man and get married; in that regard, I agree it is a behavioral choice. (The tendency to be gay is deeply ingrained in our psyche, but yes, there is a choice to live that way or not) The fault in your argument lies not in the fact that we are or not born gay but in the fact that the law does not require the status to be genetic or cultural. (Except of course race and national origin, which I cannot find any way one could change that but I guess anything is possible) The fact remains that, yes, it is a behavior choice, but so is getting married, pregnant, or becoming another religion. Just like the other things listed in the law I am not obligated to be them or do them by birth but I choose to and my choice, so long as it doesn’t hinder me from doing my job, is protected from discrimination according to the EEOC.

    Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 10:47am
  73. Is it me or does he look just a little sweet himself?

    Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 1:08pm
  74. Guess he should himself in …..cause those who protest this much are likely to be closeted…

    Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 6:15pm
  75. then gay employers should be able to fire people who display hate and intolerance

    Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 5:06am
  76. oh dear, who would ever choose to be quite so stupid as to believe people choose their sexual orientation…… sigh

    Posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 5:08am