Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) refuses to explain whether he believes that gay people should be protected from being fired for their sexual orientation. He says that he’s “happy to have a discussion” if the Republican-controlled legislature advances a relevant bill, but when pressed by reporters Thursday about his own position, he seemed to suggest that it’s unclear whether firing people for being gay is always wrong, because “it’d depend on the particular facts of the situation”:
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…
SNDYER: 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.
Ironically, Snyder indicated that his more important priority is jobs, which is exactly what the LGBT community is trying to protect — their jobs.
Despite inaction on the part of Snyder and the legislature, municipalities across The Wolverine State are implementing nondiscrimination protections of their own. Just this week, Delta Township became Michigan’s 29th community to ban discrimination against the LGBT community.
Snyder’s attempts to avoid answering questions about anti-gay discrimination reflect a history of anti-LGBT comments and actions. He previously claimed that “any kind of discrimination is wrong,” but as a justification for not condemning a member of the state’s Republican National Committee who claimed homosexuality “usually leads to early death.” In defending Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) have argued that it does not deprive same-sex couples of any rights, even though they know that such couples are raising families throughout the state without the same protections other families have. In fact, they believe the ban is important to “regulate sexual relationships” between men and women. Snyder previously signed a bill that prohibited public employers from providing benefits to unmarried partners of employees.
Given his refusal to directly answer questions about discrimination against LGBT people, it is perhaps unsurprising that Snyder has never granted an interview to an LGBT media outlet.