Rand Paul’s Solution to LGBT Discrimination: Go Back in the Closet

by HRC Staff

WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to offensive comments by Sen. Rand Paul saying that LGBT people should just go back in the closet if they fear discrimination. Today, at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Paul was asked whether employees should be able to be fired for being LBGT and responded that “if you are gay, there are plenty of places that will hire you” and “the things you do in your house, if you leave them in your house, they wouldn’t have to be part of the workplace.

“Rand Paul appears to be living in a different era. People should not be required to live in the closet or hide who they are in order to be treated equally and fairly under the law,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Rand Paul is going to find very little support for his views among the nine out of ten Americans who have an LGBT person in their lives. But Rand Paul’s comments do beg the question of whether his fellow candidates will call him out for embracing a platform of discrimination.”

Currently, 31 states across the country lack explicit, fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people. A poll conducted for HRC earlier this year by Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner found that 63 percent of self-identified LGBT Americans have faced discrimination in their personal lives. Of those who reported experiencing discrimination, nearly half have experienced discrimination in the workplace.

When asked by HBO’s John Oliver about the Equality Act this year, Rand Paul declined to support the bill. Introduced in July with a record number of original cosponsors, the Equality Act would extend existing non-discrimination protections to LGBT people.

While in the Senate, Rand Paul joined Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham in voting against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have protected LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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