Allen West on LGBT workplace discrimination: ‘That don’t happen’ in the U.S.

By David Edwards
Friday, May 11, 2012 11:59 EDT
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Tea party favorite Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is denying that LGBT people face employment discrimination in the U.S.

On Thursday, Think Progress’ Scott Keyes asked West if he would be willing to support a law that bans hiring or firing of people based on their sexual orientation.

“That don’t happen out here in the United States of America,” West insisted.

“You don’t think people get fired because they’re gay?” Keyes wondered.

“Well, I don’t see that as being a big issue with small businesses,” West replied. “I sit on the Small Business Committee. You know what they’re concerned about? They’re concerned about onerous tax policy, regulatory policy and lack of access to capital because Dodd-Frank is absolutely decimating small community banks.”

West may be right that the issue isn’t the top concern for business owners, but it is a real problem for the up to 43 percent of gay men and lesbians who have reported workplace discrimination or harassment.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, it’s legal to fire someone for being gay, lesbian or bisexual in 29 states. And 34 states allow businesses to fire workers for being transgender.

In the past, West has said that he believes homosexuality is a choice.

“Let me explain something to you,” the congressman told a conservative crowd in Tampa last year. “I can’t change my color. People can change their behavior, but I can’t change my color.”

Watch this video from Think Progress, uploaded May 11, 2012.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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