Rep. Steve King (R-IA) doesn’t believe “self-professed” gays should get equal protection because that treatment could allow them to trick businesses into committing hate crimes.
King said in an interview Sunday with Des Moines TV station WHO that he wasn’t happy with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) veto of SB 1062, a bill that would have allowed businesses in that state to discriminate against LGBT individuals on the basis of their religious beliefs.
“When you’re in the private sector, and you’re an individual entrepreneur with God-given rights that our founding founders defined in the Declaration [of Independence],” he said. “You should be able to make your own decisions with what you do in that private business.”
King said LGBT individuals are trying to “perfect special rights for self-professed behavior.” He added that their rights aren’t covered under equal protection because sexual orientation can be “willfully changed” and cannot be “independently verified.”
WHO asked King if his use of the term “self-professed” meant that he believed being gay was a choice. The Iowa Republican responded that he was unsure.
King then suggested that LGBT individuals could approach businesses that are disinclined to serve them in order to “set up a case” if they were protected under hate crimes legislation.
“And the one thing I referenced when I say ‘self-professed,’ how do you know who to discriminate against?” he said. “They about have to tell you. And are they then setting up a case, is this about bringing a grievance or is it actually about a service that they’d like to have?”
“When we get into the area of even hate crimes legislation, I’ve opposed that, because you’re punishing people for what you think went on in their head at the time they perpetuated a crime,” he later added.
h/t Raw Story
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.