CHARLOTTE, N.C. – North Carolina Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger recently claimed the right to fire gay people was as integral to the American experience as the right for citizens to smoke cigarettes on private property, and he vowed to fight to ensure that all Americans had the freedom to fire LGBT individuals if they wanted.
“You need to respect the autonomy of somebody running their business,” said Pittenger. “It’s like smoking bans. Do you ban smoking or do people have the right to private property? … 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 need to hire somebody? Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?”
Pittenger said that while he agreed that discrimination based race or gender was bad, he felt it important to allow discrimination based on sexual orientation, which is why he opposes passing the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which would outlaw discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or sexual identity. “There aren’t that many gays compared to normal people, and America was built on marginalizing small sections of the population to allow the majority to feel better about themselves. It’s what makes America special.”
North Carolina is currently one of 29 states where a worker can be fired for being LGBT or even giving off an LGBT vibe. Pittenger points to his state as a model for the nation. “We still believe in freedom in North Carolina,” he said. “Did you know that right now there are 21 states in America where the government won’t allow you to fire a gay person just because he’s gay? How is that freedom? How is that the American Way?”
“I will not rest until everyone enjoys the same freedom I enjoy in the great state of North Carolina,” continued Pittenger. “I think every job interview should be able to start with ‘First question, do you kiss other men?’ and if he answers yes, you can just kick him out the door and save everyone a bunch of time and energy.”