In an MSNBC interview this morning, Chuck Todd asked Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) about the apparently successful efforts by anti-gay extremists to force openly gay foreign policy spokesperson Richard Grenell out of the Romney presidential campaign.
Jindal said he had no problem having openly gay staffers and claimed that qualifications should be the only consideration in state employment decisions. But that position is at odds with his 2008 action ending non-discrimination protections for gay and lesbian state employees:
TODD: There’s been this controversy inside the Romney campaign about Ric Grenell feeling as if he had to resign because he didn’t feel comfortable being openly gay and the controversy that was causing with some social conservatives. Do you have any problems having openly gay staffers?
JINDAL: No. I meant that’s obviously not something we ask folks. Look, we want the most qualified people to work with us on our team and to move our state forward.
Watch the video:
Putting aside the fact that his desire to move Louisiana “forward” would seem highly offensive to right-wingers who believe that term both Marxist and Nazi — and his implied Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell-style approach to the issue — Jindal makes the important point that employees should be judged not on their sexual orientation, but on their ability to get the job done.
However, during his first year as governor in 2008, Jindal opted not to renew the non-discrimination executive order put in place by his Democratic predecessor, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. Her order had banned employment discrimination and harassment of state government employees on the basis of their sexual orientation. Jindal said he didn’t “think it is necessary to create additional special categories or special rights,” so he rescinded Blanco’s already existing categories protecting nothing more than the right he today seemed to endorse.
Perhaps it’s time for Jindal to revisit his 2008 decision — and for Romney to re-evaluate this campaign’s commitment to inclusion.