You would think by now that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder would know where he stands on gay issues. But if he does, he’s keeping it to himself. The state legislature is considering a nondiscrimination measure to protect LGBT workers, but pressed by reporters for his position on the bill, Snyder unloaded a massive array of statements completely devoid of any meaning.
“It’s something at some point I’m happy to have a discussion on; I’m waiting to see when legislators may also have that as an item of interest,” Snyder began his colloquy with reporters.
As a reasonable follow up, reporters pressed Snyder, a Republican, to explain what he’s thinking. Based on the exchange that followed, he’s not thinking at all:
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.
So glad to know that being fired for being gay is a hypothetical situation. That will bring comfort to these people who lost not-so-hypothetical livelihoods.
As for the governor emerging as a champion of workplace protections — that would require a change of attitude, based on past performance. Two years ago, Snyder signed a law that denied healthcare benefits to the partners of all LGBT public employees, not exactly the act of someone who believes in a fair workplace.
Photo credit: Michigan.gov