Calling equal pay legislation “symbolic,” GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry on Tuesday denied the need for state laws that protect women’s right to a fair wage.
“Women already get equal pay,” Perry told CNN host Alisyn Camerota. “We don’t need symbolic pieces of legislation jumbling up our code.”
Perry was defending his decision as Texas governor to veto an equal pay law championed by state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D) and state Sen. Wendy Davis (D). The legislation, which passed with broad bipartisan support, would have made it easier for women to file wrongful discrimination claims.
“This was a piece of legislation that basically duplicates what’s at the federal level,” Perry told CNN. “In the state of Texas, we think it’s wise not to have too many laws on the books.”
Perry was nodding at the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was passed in 2009 to give people who experience pay discrimination a longer window to file a complaint. Critics of Perry’s veto point out that this act only provides standing in federal, not state, courts, and that the gender wage gap has endured since its passage.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women working full-time earn only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. A Dallas Morning News report found that the annual median pay for women in 2012 was $35,453 — 79 percent of the median $44,802 that men earned.
According to the Texas Tribune, 42 states have passed laws similar to the one vetoed by Perry.
Watch a clip from Perry’s CNN interview:
h/t Raw Story