After turning down an interview with the Gay History Project earlier this month, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) recently provided written answers to the Washington Blade, which “marks the first known time a Republican presidential nominee has agreed to an interview with a gay publication.” Though, as Marc Ambinder notes, it was really “a quasi-interview” since “the campaign drafted answers with McCain’s assent.”
Asked whether he would “support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) if elected president” — which passed the House last year and stalled in the Senate — McCain said that he supports “the concept of non-discrimination in hiring for gay and lesbian people,” but not legislation that would protect against discrimination:
BLADE: Will you support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act if elected president?
MCCAIN: Gay and lesbian people should not face discrimination in the workplace. I’ve always practiced that in my hiring. I select the best people, regardless of their sexual orientation. I support the concept of non-discrimination in hiring for gay and lesbian people.
However, we need to make sure legislation doesn’t lead to a flood of frivolous lawsuits or infringe on religious institutions. What I can say now is I will give careful consideration to any legislation that reaches my desk, and confer with Congress before making decisions.
McCain’s campaign says that he would “give careful consideration” to ENDA legislation if he were president, but his record indicates he would not support it. In 1996, when the Senate rejected ENDA, McCain was the deciding vote that defeated it. In November 2007, McCain reiterated his opposition, saying that it would “open the door to endless litigation and court cases.”
McCain’s support in “concept” for non-discrimination towards the LGBT community is similar to his support in “concept” for equal pay for equal work. In both cases, McCain says he supports the “concept,” but he opposes any legislation to make the “concept” a reality.
Pam’s House Blend has more from McCain’s Blade interview.