Tough questions

Trump’s Civil Rights pick isn’t sure if people should be fired for being gay

Eric S. Dreiband is Donald Trump’s pick to head the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. During his senate confirmation hearing this week, Dreiband said he’d be “zealous” in protecting civil rights of all people… unless they’re LGBTQ, then he’s not sure.

While speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dreiband recounted an incident from his tenure with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving a “totally deaf” dishwasher in a fast food restaurant:

There was a matter that came out of our St. Louis office when I served as general counsel of the EEOC. It involved a case of an individual who was totally deaf. He applied to work as a low-wage dishwasher at a fast-food restaurant in that area. The manager of the restaurant told him that he would not hire him, and he would not hire him because he was deaf. Blatant disability discrimination.

Dreiband went on to explain that he forwarded the case to the EEOC commissioners, urging them to take up the case. They did and the “totally deaf” dishwasher won a $25,000 lawsuit. #success

Related: Former Cheesecake Factory dishwasher sues company for discriminating against him for being straight

Dreiband said the case was “particularly important to me” because “it’s something I’m particularly proud of.”

“The United States government was able to seek relief for that individual and to send a message to the public that that kind of blatant discrimination will not be tolerated,” he boasted.

Later on in the hearing, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island brought the story of the “totally deaf” dishwasher back up.

“Go back to your story about the deaf dishwasher,” he said. “Remove his deafness. Insert, instead of being deaf, that this individual is gay. Does he get treated the same way by you under the Civil Rights Division?”

Related: Christian Couple Stiffs Gay Waiter, Says “Queers Do Not Share In The Wealth Of God”

Dreiband hesitated for a moment, then responded:

Well, it depends on the law. If you’re asking about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the sex-discrimination prohibitions in that law, that is a matter that is currently in litigation and pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. … And I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further and will [wait] to see what the Court of Appeals does.

Later, Dreiband was asked by Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware if transgender students are protected from discrimination based on their gender identity under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Dreiband answered by, well, not answering. Instead, he sidestepped the question, saying:

I certainly think protections for individuals against discrimination, including sex discrimination, and in cases like the Shepard Byrd Hate Crimes Act—that protects against hate crimes because of gender identity status—are very, very important.

Related: Gay couple shamed for asking to share a sundae at a swanky D.C. restaurant

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  • DCguy

    Prepare for the Trump Trolls to come in here and start screaming about Hillary, Obama, or ANYTHING else to try to pull attention away from the fact that an anti-lgbt bigot is heading up civil rights enforcement under Trump.

  • KaiserVonScheiss

    False headline is false.

    The civil rights division is part of the executive branch and can only enforce the law. It doesn’t write the law. That’s congress’s job. See Article I of the constitution.

    Ultimately the court will have to determine whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers sexual orientation. From what I’ve read it refers to biological sex and certain aspects related to sex, like pregnancy (as a way to better protect women). I’ve seen nothing in there referring to sexual orientation.

    If you don’t like the law, call your congressman.

    • Juanjo

      Kaiser Von Douchebag has never attended a aw school and thus is simply talking out his ass, as usual. Here it is a classic straw man. The questions did not related to whether the agency this man is slated to join is legislating but rather what criteria they are using to determine which offenses come under the law and which do not. Drelband carefully dodged that matter by simply referring to how the interpretation of certain statutes is under review on the 2nd Circuit Court Of Appeals right now so he could not comment.

      I would explain to Kaiser Von DB about how the three systems of government work constitutionally and how executive branch agencies have certain degrees of latitude in how to interpret statutes in the course of enforcing them but he simply would not understand it. It require the use of something other than one syllable words.

    • KaiserVonScheiss


      You don’t need a law degree to understand the basics.

      Of course the executive branch has some leeway in enforcing the law. Did I say they didn’t? However, they can’t just make up rules. That’s why it’s under review in the first place. That’s why there’s a court system — to keep the other branches in check.

    • DCguy

      It’s funny when you anti-lgbt trolls get desperate and lie.

      You said the headline was false and then went off on a tangent not relevant to the posting. Trumps appointee DID make the statement, therefore the headline is exactly on point.

      So please detail exactly how a headline that accurately points out what the person said is a false headline.

    • KaiserVonScheiss


      Because that’s not what he said. He didn’t say that he didn’t know. He said “it depends” because it’s a legal question currently being debated by a court. Not the same thing.

  • captainburrito

    ENDA will pass if Democrats ever win back control.

  • GayEGO

    I guess there will be a lot of confrontations by these “not sure” picks by Trump until all of America has non-discrimination laws to support LGBTQs.

  • Karlis

    I am absolutely certain that somewhere deep in the basement of the White House, there is an office called “Finding the Worst Possible Person in the World for Each Government Position” (FWPPWEGP). Nothing else could explain the head of Exxon becoming secretary of state, the dingbat governor of South Carolina becoming the ambassador to the UN, an avowed enemy of public education becoming secretary of education, an avowed enemy of the environment becoming head of the EPA, the nutcase former governor of Texas becoming secretary of energy, etc. One could go on. President Obama had a huge mess to clean up that was left behind by George Bush the Younger and the Dumber, but what the next president after the Orange Ape is going to have to deal with will make Obama’s problems look like a walk in the park.

    • ivanw222

      I couldn’t agree more, it’s as if he says ” Give me the biggest nut job, and I’ll give him a whole box of crayons”

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