Huffington Post: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) affirmed on Monday morning that he would oppose a law that would prohibit discrimination against gay and lesbian employees in the workplace, citing the possibility that it would put a financial burden on businesses.ENDA would probably make it through the Senate, but Boehner’s opposition means it will probably not even come up for a vote in that chamber.
"The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.
The remark from Steel is a tough blow for supporters of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
But consider the reasoning; does Boehner’s office believe that suits against businesses that practice gender, race, or religious discrimination are auomatically “frivolous”? I think there are quite a few people in America who would argue the opposite — and they’d be right. If there’s a law against discrimination, suing those who discriminate is pretty much the exact opposite of frivolous. And ask the person who was denied employment because of discrimination how well Boehner’s protecting jobs. The argument makes no sense at all.
When that argument fell apart, Boehner’s office “clarified” (i.e., made an entirely different and totally unrelated argument); “We have always believed this is covered by existing law.” Of course, it’s not. That’s why ENDA is needed. But even if Boehner was right, it would completely contradict his original argument — where are all the frivolous lawsuits destroying American businesses far and wide?
The truth is that Boehner’s arguing in bad faith. What going on — and what he’s bending over backwards to avoid saying — is that gerrymandering of House districts has made his party slaves to bigots. And as a result, Boehner’s nutjob caucus needs to take the least popular position on an issue once again, lest the hatemongering voters that the party has chosen for themselves will primary them with someone who hates the gays enough.
An alternate headline for this piece — indeed, the headline I’d originally considered — would be “How the GOP is committing suicide today.” Again, they can’t keep thwarting the will of the people and expect to win elections.
[photo by Gage Skidmore]