LGBT, Rick Snyder — October 25, 2013 at 7:22 am

Rick Snyder takes 114 words to say ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about equal employment rights for gay & lesbian citizens


Let’s dance

[Caricature by DonkeyHotey from photos by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog]

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is clearly practicing for his court appearance in Detroit on Monday where he’ll testify in the court hearing to determine if the city is eligible to go into bankruptcy. Yesterday, Snyder was asked about his opinion about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Michiganders being fired for their sexual orientation. Thanks to Michigan law — the Elliott-Larsen Act — this is perfectly legal. What unfolded was a masterful bit of verbal dancing in which the governor’s lips, tongue, and jaws moved, sounds were emitted from his mouth in the form of English words, and sentences were constructed from the words but in which he said absolutely nothing.

Nothing. No opinion on Michigan allowing people in the LGBT community to be fired simply because of their sexual orientation.

It’s a thing to behold:

Reporter: Is it acceptable in Michigan that someone can be fired from their job because they are gay or perceived as gay?

Snyder: Well again, in terms of people being fired for no good reason, again, that’s always an issue, that shouldn’t happen.

Reporter: Is being fired because you’re gay or perceived as gay one of those issues?

Snyder: Again, you have issues where you want to see people have an opportunity to have a career.

Reporter: But when you say “no good reason,” is being gay a good reason to be fired?

Snyder: Well again, that’s a broad statement, so it’d depend on the particular facts of the situation. That’s a hypothetical, that’s very general in that context.

Reporter: People are being fired because they’re gay though, that’s not hypothetical. An employer can do that. That’s not a hypothetical situation, that’s a real situation…

Snyder: The question is how should government be involved in that process and how active, so again that’s where I’m happy to work with the legislature as they’re willing to look at those kind of issues.

Reporter: But you’re not going to lead on that issue.

Snyder: At this point in time I’ve got a number of other things that I’ve had as priorities.

It’s almost a thing of beauty, his glib ability to spew platitudes that express no opinion whatsoever. It’s sort of hypnotizing, really.

For the record, governor, people being fired for being an LGBT person is not “a hypothetical situation”, it’s a harsh reality for far too many Michiganders.

This isn’t the first time that Snyder has sidestepped the issue, something that his own Department of Civil Rights addressed in a report (pdf) that shows the myriad ways that our economy is harmed by the discrimination inherent in the Elliott Larsen Act:

Businesses with inclusive non-discrimination policies are better able to attract top talent. Analysis of corporate non-discrimination statements from Fortune 500 companies suggests that the main rationale that motivates companies to adopt such policies is that they help recruit and retain a talented workforce and thus gain a competitive advantage. {…}

[D]ata suggest that businesses with inclusive non-discrimination policies are more attractive to a wider pool of applicants and more likely to attract talent from diverse segments of the workforce.

It is, however, the clearest example of how Governor Snyder is having to answer to many benefactors, wealthy funders who wish to have no part of marriage or employment equality for members of the LGBT community.

The contrast between Snyder and Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer could not be more stark. Schauer, who has members from the LGBT community on his staff, is in full support of repealing Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban and for overturning the harmful and discriminatory Elliott Larsen Act.

Well done, governor. Most people could not utter than many words and say absolutely nothing.