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Oklahoma GOP Congressman James Lankford Explains Why it's Okay to Fire Someone for Being Gay: VIDEO


Think Progress caught up with GOP Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford on Capitol Hill last week and asked him if he would support legislation that prohibits firing someone from their job because of their sexual orientation.

Said Lankford:

Well, you’re now dealing with behavior and I’m trying to figure out exactly what you’re trying to mean by that. Because you’re dealing with — race and sexual preferences are two different things. One is a behavior-related and preference-related and one is something inherently — skin color, something obvious, that kind of stuff. You don’t walk up to someone on the street and look at them and say, “Gay or straight?”

Lankford, you see, doesn't believe someone is born gay:

No. I don’t. I think it’s a choice issue. Are tendencies and such? Yes. But I think it’s a choice issue.


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  1. Another one who was a little 'handy' with an adolescent buddy and chose to be str8.

    Posted by: Gus | May 15, 2012 8:22:05 AM

  2. I hate red haired people. They should be fired if they don't choose to die their hair.

    Posted by: carl | May 15, 2012 8:23:43 AM

  3. Religion is also a choice, and a behavior-related.

    Just sayin'.

    Posted by: Dxx | May 15, 2012 8:34:31 AM

  4. This guy is struggling with his sexuality

    Posted by: bryce | May 15, 2012 8:34:49 AM

  5. Mr. Lankford's belief in a magical mythical God is a choice and it is protected as religious freedom. Moreover, his behaviors because they are guided by his religious beliefs are also protected as religious freedom. So to paraphrase Orwell, some religions, people, groups are more equal than others.

    Posted by: rayrayj | May 15, 2012 8:43:30 AM

  6. as someone that society ripped out of the closet kicking and screaming starting in kindergarten while bullying me the entire time, i am here to say he is right. People don't walk up to others and say gay or st8. People like him walk up to others and say FA*#@t or str8. I am so tired of people saying it is a choice. They obviously have no idea and i pray for them!

    Posted by: Kenneth | May 15, 2012 9:16:47 AM

  7. The follow up question is: Do you make the choice to be heterosexual every day? Have you made the choice not to be homosexual?

    Why don't interviwers ever call them on this b.s.?

    Posted by: etyrnal | May 15, 2012 9:24:18 AM

  8. get this dinosaur out of office immediately. i can't believe people like this are still running our country!

    Posted by: erik | May 15, 2012 9:32:53 AM

  9. Yes, religion is also a choice. However, freedom of religion is specifically protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution. Sexual orientation is not *specifically* protected, but might be through interpretation of other parts of the Constitution.

    Posted by: camsf | May 15, 2012 9:34:25 AM

  10. well, this little queen clearly DOES make "the choice" to not be gay every day. what a pillow-biter.

    flood his facebook pages.

    yet another backwoods backward thinking republican. wow. what a shock.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 15, 2012 9:34:53 AM

  11. GAYDAR!!!! Ringing off the Hook Big Time!!

    Posted by: aj | May 15, 2012 9:43:40 AM

  12. btw, he looks like the lovechild of Chucky and Reverend Kane from Poltergeist II.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 15, 2012 9:45:01 AM

  13. I think he looks like a Bob Vander Plop cousin...which opens all kinds of incest possibilities if they ever get together at some convention.

    Something about the Oklahoma wind sweeps these folks into state politics.

    Posted by: gregory brown | May 15, 2012 9:54:01 AM

  14. The issue here is this man's lack of respect for other Americans' freedom, dignity and privacy. The question Rep. Lankford raises of "choice" is, as always, a complete red herring and stupid waste of time.

    Posted by: Matt | May 15, 2012 10:04:05 AM

  15. I wish EVERY journalist/interviewer who questioned someone on this topic would simply follow the logic: "So you chose to be heterosexual? Do you feel that you COULD enjoy sexual relations with men, but you're making a conscious choice to be with a woman? Okay then, if it doesn't sound pleasurable to you, why do you believe it's realistically a choice for others?"

    Posted by: sparks | May 15, 2012 10:13:24 AM

  16. @AJ - He completely blew the fuse of my gaydar. Of course, he's probably an expert on blowing.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | May 15, 2012 10:13:37 AM

  17. It's not a choice. But even if it was, does that give people the right to fire and discriminate against us? You can't be fired for being a Christian, which is definitely a choice.

    meanwhile, Rep. Lankford will be caught soliciting sex in a men's room in T-minus 5...4...3...

    Posted by: Wirrrn | May 15, 2012 10:23:10 AM

  18. Another fine example of ignorance. People like this, and the people who ELECT people like this, simply need to be educated.

    They approve of education in Oklahoma ... right?

    Posted by: DiatribesAndOvations | May 15, 2012 10:23:45 AM

  19. It is very hard to justify job discrimination on ANY basis. I've never heard anyone convincingly make a case for any kind of job discrimination - racial, sexual, ethnic. Until (and unless!) someone can convince me otherwise, I'll stick with the position that if you can do the job you should be treated the same as other job applicants.

    Posted by: mary | May 15, 2012 10:39:30 AM

  20. aren't red heads witches?

    they used to burned as witches and doubly so if left handed red heads

    just saying

    Posted by: say what | May 15, 2012 10:39:49 AM

  21. did y'all see the piece last night on The Daily Show about the passage of a bill in missouri?

    Republicans passed a bill that protects gun-owners as a specific group. second amendment already exists, but they made it illegal to fire someone....if they own guns. despite the fact that at no point in the state's history has anyone ever been denied a job, or fired, for owning a gun. and the republican woman who introduced that bill, and the republicans who helped pass it, have continually struck down bills that would protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination. despite the fact that there are hundreds of such cases in the state.

    why? simple. republicans are stupid. and bigoted.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 15, 2012 10:48:40 AM

  22. suddenly I feel the urge to open a business in Oklahoma, or any other state.. hire a bunch of people, then fire their collective asses because they're straight!

    Posted by: NorthoftheBorder | May 15, 2012 12:21:41 PM

  23. Okay, I'll play along. It's a choice, and it's a behavior. As such, firing someone for their choices and behaviors is not the same as firing because of race or gender.

    I don't like your tie, which you chose to wear IN PUBLIC! I should have the right to fire you.

    I really don't care for country music. Listening to country music is a choice. If you engaged in the behaviors of turning on your car's radio and listening to country music, on your own time, I should be able to fire you. No protections for your personal choices or behaviors.

    This is a free country. Except when it's not, and that's okay.

    Posted by: TJ | May 15, 2012 1:00:38 PM

  24. You can't give those bigoted nutcases the follow-up question "So you chose to be heterosexual?" They would not understand this question and state, that it is an illogical one. Because for them, heterosexuality is the norm - we are naturally wired this way. And gays decide to go against this wiring. We shouldn't waste time asking these guys questions like this. Maybe we see it is a smart one, but they don't.

    Posted by: bombastu | May 15, 2012 1:41:15 PM

  25. Well there is one thing we DO know beyond a shadow of a doubt, RELIGION IS A CHOICE.

    It's arguable that Humans have a built-in tendency toward religion I suppose, but personally I think it's a "mis-fire" of the same pattern-making ability that also gives us science and knowledge. Religion and superstition are just bad science. "I was doing THIS when it rained, therefore if I do THIS again it will rain again." "My tribe has THIS idol (god) but we were beaten in war by a tribe that has THAT idol, therefore THAT idol is more powerful than THIS idol, so I should worship it instead."

    All that aside though, PEOPLE CHANGE RELIGIONS EVERY DAY or drop them altogether. Compare that with sexuality, which even the main proponents of "ex-gay" therapy now admit does not work. People change religions because they want to marry someone of another faith, because the tenets of that religion appeal to them, or because practicing that religion gives them some practical advantage. And sometimes people drop religion altogether because they come to believe it's all hogwash.

    And even if you DO believe in a Creator, Supreme Being, or Higher Power, it does NOT follow that the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, or ANY religious text ancient or modern says a SINGLE true or meaningful thing about that being or entity.

    This pr*ck could DECIDE to switch to a religion or denomination that isn't homophobic, that has come to terms with human sexuality, of which there are several. That he hasn't done that is HIS CHOICE, unlike the sexuality of those who he wants to oppress.

    Besides, and god worth its salt would have fried this f**ker with a lightning bolt long ago!

    Posted by: Caliban | May 15, 2012 1:41:34 PM

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