John Boehner: ‘I See No Basis or Need’ for Legislation Protecting LGBT People in the Workplace

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was asked today by the Washington Blade's Chris Johnson about whether he'll allow a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which was passed in an historic Senate vote last week.

BoehnerSaid Boehner:

"I am opposed to discrimination of any kind, in the workplace and any place else. But I think this legislation that I’ve dealt with as chairman of The Education & The Workforce Committee…is unnecessary and would provide a basis for frivolous lawsuits. People are already protected in the workplace. I’m opposed to continuing this. Listen, I understand people have differing opinions on this issue, and I respect those opinions. But as someone who’s worked in the employment law area for all my years in the State House and all my years here, I see no basis or no need for this legislation."

Currently, people can still be fired simply for being gay in 29 states.


  1. Owen says

    Typical Republican response, more worried about employers getting sued than people’s rights to be protected for being who they are. Wonder if he thought women, disabled, and race getting protection was unneeded as well. I’m sure he would be all for protection of religion which is a choice!

  2. HadenoughBS says

    Boehner is one of the many players responsible for the historic lower-than-low approval ratings of Congressional Rethuglicans, especially those in the House. It appears the Whig Party will come around to supporting the LGBT community before the throwback GOPers do so.

  3. Hey Darlin' says

    Once again they ask the person completely unaffected by the act. He couldn’t possibly answer a question that he has no experience with. Who cares how long you worked in an antiquated system. It’s like if they asked me how Martians would fare if we did or didn’t pass a certain law regarding them. I would have no perspective and should logically decline to comment on their well being, much less assume I know what’s BEST based on my own history.

  4. AJ says

    I live in a right-to-work state. They can fire me for not liking my shoes. I guess I can see the need for this, but every single
    place I have ever worked has had an anti-discrimination thing in their rules that includes LGBT.

  5. woodroad34 says

    Seriously…the reason he doesn’t bring it up is that he’s afraid the House will pass it, so he’s, in effect, not acting as a real representative, but a small time dictator. Not much difference from him and Sadaam

  6. Jon says

    “Currently, people can be fired for simply being gay in 29 states.” True. At the same time, people can also be fired for simply being overweight in 49 states. Or can simply be fired for wearing a beard when the company’s policy is not to. And yet, in the overwhelming number of situations, these firings never happen. The reality is, such terminations are rare enough that it doesn’t require the heavy hand of the federal government to intervene.

    You may not like Boehner’s rationale, but it’s true…ENDA will be another avenue for frivolous lawsuits and for further advancing the increasingly-heavy hand of the federal government into areas of life it doesn’t belong. And that ultimately hurts all of us, gay and straight alike.

  7. crazycorgi says

    Sorry John, but I do not see Boehner’s rational because unlike you, obviously, I am not a person of privilege: white, protestant, heterosexual, and wealthy. Also, I happen to live in Ohio, where Boehner is from, and can assure you that there are absolutely NO protections for homosexuals here in either workplace, housing, or healthcare discrimination. Perhaps in your world nobody needs something like ENDA because no homosexuals have ever lost their job for being gay, but I can tell you that where I come from it happens every day.

  8. Graphicjack says

    See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. So if Boehner doesn’t “see” any need for this legislation, clearly anti-gay businesses don’t fire their GLBT staff… This would just result in “frivolous” lawsuits. What a prick. Can someone please revoke his tanning privileges.

  9. Craig says

    Dear Mr. Speaker:

    Since you obviously have no issue with discrimination, just thought I’d let you know that I’ll be cheerfully discriminating against Republicans from here on out.

    That’s right, at each and every opportunity, I plan on voting against them, no matter the office, no matter the qualifications, yep, I’m just going to practice good old fashioned job discrimination against your folks every election.

  10. Dave says

    Jon (both of you) – there are 17 states in which sexual orientation is a protected class. In any of these states, did frivolous lawsuits tick upward? I think not.

    So, both of you are throwing out an absurd and unfounded claim. What did happen in those 17 states is that fewer people lost their job because of their real or perceived sexual orientation, because large firms like Exxon Mobil and Walmart had to obey the law.

  11. emjayay says

    Boehner has never made a single public uttering that actually represents any truth in particular or for that matter necessarily what he himself actually thinks or feels. Everything he says is a carefully crafted political statement designed to inform his collegues of his political intent and fool the right wing know-nothings into believing it’s real.

    He always says everything in a calm and straightforward manner with a great deal of conviction, just like it’s his own statement straight from his soul about what he thinks, but it never is.

    Pure carefully crafted political PR, every word, every time. He’s been at it so long he probably can’t tell what he thinks or what’s true from what’s a purely political statement himself.

  12. lookyloo says

    ENDA protects straight people as much as it does gays.

    Sure a gay person is more likely to be fired because of their sexual orientation but the law makes it illegal to fire someone for being straight, too.

    I think one way of dealing with the feet-dragging on ENDA is to point out to the bigots that in many states some homo in management can fire you.. ya know, take away your livelihood.. merely because you’re straight – and ENDA would change that.

  13. Carlie says

    His statement about his experience with Employment Law might give one the impression that he has a law degree. He does not. There is no federal protection for orientation or identity. That’s a fact.

    As for need, since 2000, federal courts have been shifting the burden of proof to favor employers. Title VII supposedly protected against discrimination in pay on the basis of sex, but the Ledbetter Fair Act was necessary because of the intentionally perverse reading of the status of limitation by the Supreme Court (that the employee had to file a claim within 180 days of the first discriminatory act, even if that act (being paid less for the same job) was something an employee could not know). This is just one example.

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