Gay discrimination? Thompson takes it all back

The GOP presidential candidate said employers should be able to fire people because they're gay.


Tim Grieve
May 4, 2007 7:20PM (UTC)

At Thursday night's GOP presidential debate, the Politico's John Harris asked Tommy Thompson what seemed like a pretty straightforward question: "Gov. Thompson ... If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?"

Thompson answered in what seemed to be a pretty straightforward way: "I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be."

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The follow-up from Jim VandeHei: "OK, so the answer's yes?" Thompson: "Yes."

While Thompson's "good, non-weaselly answer" is winning praise from some corners of the right, most folks are just scratching their heads: As Ed Morrissey writes in the National Review, Thompson's answer merely confirms his status as one of the GOP's "Crazy Uncle Bobs" who ought to "return to the attic forthwith. "

Thompson isn't climbing the stairs just yet. But in a telephone interview with CNN this morning, he said he "misinterpreted" the question about firing gay employees and that his answer should have been "no." That not-so-complicated question again: "If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?"

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Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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