Des Moines, IA -- Rand Paul on Wednesday dismissed the need for employment protections for members of the LGBT community, saying there “plenty of places” that will hire gay people and that their sexual identity is best kept out of the workplace.
“I think society is rapidly changing and that if you are gay, there are plenty of places that will hire you,” Paul said in response to a question about whether employers should be able to fire someone based on his or her sexual identity.
He added: “I think, really, the things you do in your house, just leave those in your house and they wouldn’t have to be a part of the workplace, to tell you the truth.”
Paul said that designating the LGBT community as a protected class, like race, gender and ethnicity, would create a new group “who can now sue.”
“So what happens is it sets up a whole industry of people who want to sue,” Paul said. “So if you happen to be gay, you get fired—now you have a reason you can fire them. But it’s almost impossible sometimes—you know, people don’t put up a sign, ‘I’m firing you because you’re gay.’ It’s something that’s very much disputed. And so I don’t know that we need to keep adding to different classifications to say the government needs to be involved in the hiring and firing.”
The remarks sparked almost instant outrage from the Democratic opposition group American Bridge, who said in a press release that Paul made “almost too many offensive quotes” to highlight in his answer.
Hillary Clinton responded with this tweet:
“I heard a lot of students speaking afterwards, and they said they were with them until he said that,” said Sarah Fulton, 21, a senior at Drake University and self-identifying Libertarian who attended the campaign stop here. "Our generation is becoming more and more accepting. I do think that would hurt him with a younger demographic, especially at a more liberal school like Drake.”
The stop was Paul’s last of a three-day swing on his college campus tour through Iowa, which consisted of live streamed reminder that he is still in the race and to “get over it."