Freshman Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told ThinkProgress in a recent interview that he was against laws designed to protect employees from workplace discrimination based on their sexual orientation, because of his belief that being gay is a "choice."
"Race and sexual preferences are two different things. One is a behavior-related and preference-related and one is something inherently -- skin color, something obvious, that kind of stuff. You don’t walk up to someone on the street and look at them and say, 'Gay or straight?'" Lankford said. "I think it’s a choice issue. Are tendencies and such? Yes. But I think it’s a choice issue."
President Barack Obama's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage rights spurred a legislative push on such safeguards last week. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent reported that a bipartisan group of senators renewed calls for hearings on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a piece of legislation that would expand employee anti-discrimination language to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Lankford isn't the only freshman Republican to express opposition to this type of bill. Last week, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said such protections were unnecessary because discrimination based on sexual orientation simply didn't happen.
"That don’t happen out here in the United States of America," he told ThinkProgress.
Below, some of the most outrageous things said about sexuality and the LGBT community:
Santorum<a href="http://articles.mcall.com/2004-02-25/news/3521981_1_gay-marriage-defense-of-marriage-act-amendment-process" target="_hplink"> is quoted by the <em>Allentown Morning Call</em> as saying in 2004</a>, "This is an issue just like 9/11... We didn't decide we wanted to fight the war on terrorism because we wanted to. It was brought to us. And if not now, when? When the supreme courts in all the other states have succumbed to the Massachusetts version of the law?"
Tennessee's GOP State Senator Stacey Campfield <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/stacey-campfield-tennessee-senator-dont-say-gay-bill_n_1233697.html" target="_hplink">told HuffPost Gay Voices in January</a>: "Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community -- it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall." "My understanding is that it is virtually -- not completely, but virtually -- impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex...very rarely [transmitted]." "What's the average lifespan of a homosexual? it's very short. Google it yourself."
<a href="http://www.wnd.com/2003/01/16871/" target="_hplink">As quoted by <em>World Net Daily</em></a>: "Imagine we identify the gene -- assuming that there is one, this is hypothetical -- that will tell us prior to birth that a baby is going to be gay. Just like a baby is gonna be redheaded and freckled and maybe tend to be overweight and so we tell the parents that, and the parents say "Nope, don't wanna give birth to that child, [it's] not gonna have a fair chance. Who wants to give birth to an overweight, freckle-faced redhead?" Bam. So we abort the kid. Well, you add to this, let's say we discover the gene that says the kid's gonna be gay. How many parents, if they knew before the kid was gonna be born, [that he] was gonna be gay, they would take the pregnancy to term? Well, you don't know but let's say half of them said, "Oh, no, I don't wanna do that to a kid." [Then the] gay community finds out about this. The gay community would do the fastest 180 and become pro-life faster than anybody you've ever seen. ... They'd be so against abortion if it was discovered that you could abort what you knew were gonna be gay babies."
"If you're involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it's bondage," the former Minnesota senator and GOP ex-presidential candidate <a href="http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/michele-bachmanns-top-ten-anti-gay-quotes/politics/2011/06/02/21233" target="_hplink">is quoted as saying in 2004</a>. "It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement."
Alan Osmond, who shot to fame in the late 1960s and early '70s as one of The Osmonds, took heat in November <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/09/alan-osmond-anti-gay-article_n_1084463.html" target="_hplink">for penning an article</a> that some in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) blogsophere deemed homophobic. In his article for<a href="http://thefamily.com/" target="_hplink"> the website The Family</a>, the 62-year-old Osmond brother, who is Mormon, not only argued that being gay is not genetic, but also comes out in defense of "reparation" therapy, which is sought by those seeking to change their sexual orientation: <blockquote>Research has NOT proved that homosexuality is genetic. Even more important, many researchers whose studies have been used to support a biological model for homosexuality have determined that their work has been MISINTERPRETED. What is clear is that homosexuality results from an interaction of social, biological, and psychological factors. These factors may include temperament, personality traits, sexual abuse, familial factors, and treatment by one's peers.</blockquote> Before noting that "treatment success rates that exceed 50 percent," Osmond continued: <blockquote>Developmental factors aside, can individuals diminish homosexual attraction and make changes in their lives? Yes. There is substantial evidence, both historical and current, to indicate this is the case.</blockquote>
The former "Saturday Night Live" star and now Tea Party activist sparked national furor when she <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/22/victoria-jackson-slams-glee-showbiz-tonight_n_838862.html" target="_hplink">slammed the hit show "Glee" after it featured a kiss between two gay characters</a> in a column for WorldNetDaily. In the column, Jackson wrote in response to an emotional, long awaited kiss between Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss). "Did you see "Glee" this week? Sickening! And, besides shoving the gay thing down our throats, they made a mockery of Christians - again! I wonder what their agenda is? Hey, producers of "Glee" - what's your agenda? One-way tolerance?" She later appeared on "Showbiz Tonight" to clarify her thoughts. "Well, it doesn't matter what I think," Jackson said. "What matters is what the Bible says. And I'm really concerned about our country because immorality is, well, let's see: secular humanism rules the airwaves, and it's stealing the innocence away from this whole generation of children. My daughter is a teenager and I can't find any show that she can watch." With that diatribe, Jackson was asked, based on her remarks, both in the column and in the interview, whether she was homophobic. "That's a cute little buzzword of the liberal agenda," Jackson smirked. "Basically, the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin."
After<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/brett-ratner-gay-slur-apology_n_1080432.html" target="_hplink"> being asked whether he rehearses with his actors </a>before shooting a scene, the "Tower Heist" director Ratner infamously replied, "Rehearsing is for fags." The gaffe, made during a Q&A session following a "Tower Heist" screening in late 2011, seemed questionable even for the sharp-tongued Ratner, who is said to be in talks to direct an adaptation of the Broadway musical "Wicked." One audience member is said to have been so upset by the reference that they immediately left the session. Though he later resigned from co-producer of the 2012 Oscars telecast, he also apologized for the statement: "It was a dumb way of expressing myself," he wrote. "Everyone who knows me knows that I don't have a prejudiced bone in my body. But as a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words."
The right wing commentator raised eyebrows from both U.S. political parties in 2007 when she stated: "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I'm - so, kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions."