WASHINGTON, DC — Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), best known as the “boring” choice atop Mitt Romney’s vice presidential list, told ThinkProgress today that he doesn’t believe it should be illegal to fire someone for being gay because doing so would make businesses less “comfortable.”
In an interview at the Faith & Freedom Conference, Portman explained why he opposes the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban firing someone because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. “What I’m concerned about in Paycheck Fairness and other legislation like that is the fact that it will spawn a lot of litigation the way the legislation is written,” the Ohio Senator said. He worried that the legislation “would make it more difficult for employers to feel comfortable.”
KEYES: The Senate’s going to be taking up the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. Do you think that it ought to be illegal to fire someone for being gay in the United States?
PORTMAN: I don’t believe in discrimination…
KEYES: But whether or not it should be legal.
PORTMAN:What I’m concerned about in Paycheck Fairness and other legislation like that is the fact that it will spawn a lot of litigation the way the legislation is written.So you don’t want it to be a boon to lawyers, you want it to actually help people. But no one should discriminate.
KEYES: So you’re worried that people might actually take up claims that they were discriminated against?
PORTMAN: […] A lot of them would create a lot of legal rights of action that would make it more difficult for employers to feel comfortable, to be able to hire, and to keep this economy moving. So you have to be careful how you do it.
Over 70 percent of Americans support legislation protecting LGBT people from workplace discrimination, and 9 in 10 mistakenly believe that a federal law doing so already exists. Unfortunately, the frontrunner to be the Republican vice presidential nominee is not among them.