Hey, look—it’s our old friend, What You Do In The Privacy Of Your Home Is None Of My Business, But. It’s been a while!
On Wednesday, in response to a question at Drake University about whether employers should be permitted to fire LGBT workers for being LGBT, recurring presidential candidate Rand Paul said, “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.”
He goes on, giving two, contradictory reasons for why there shouldn’t be legislation prohibiting this kind of workplace discrimination. On the one hand, Rand says that such laws would create “a whole industry of people who want to sue.” There are already too many lawsuits! Why would we want to allow people to file more lawsuits. There are too many. And there would be so many more. That would be bad. “You know, people don’t put up a sign saying, ‘I’m firing you because you’re gay.’ It’s something that’s very much disputed.” True enough.
But then again! “I think society is rapidly changing, and if you are gay, there are plenty of places that will hire you,” he said. “And I would say the vast majority of corporations already privately have manuals or work manuals that say don’t discriminate in any way, and I think that to be the fact. So I’m really for the government not to be more involved in this situation.”
So... which is it? Would a workplace discrimination law create the possibility of too many new lawsuits? (Because that would imply that this is a problem, and that it needs to be dealt with in some way, but maybe legislation isn’t quite the best solution. Unless, of course, he thinks workplace discrimination lawsuits are frivolous and unnecessary as a category and that workers don’t deserve protections enshrined in law.) Or are we far enough along in the progressive march of history that we don’t need such legislation anymore, because we’re enlightened now and don’t discriminate against gay people?
Incidentally, in a 2010 interview with Rachel Maddow, Rand said, “I’m not in favor of any discrimination of any form... I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. We still do have private clubs in America that can discriminate based on race. But I think what’s important about this debate is not written into any specific ‘gotcha’ on this, but asking the question: What about freedom of speech? Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent? Should we limit racists from speaking?”