October 8, 2012
By Jacob Combs
ThinkProgress reported on Friday that one of Colorado’s Republican congressmen, Scott Tipton, has announced his support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect LGBT employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. ThinkProgress posted the following conversation between their reporter Scott Keyes and Tipton, a Tea Partier, after the Wednesday presidential debate:
SCOTT KEYES (TP): Federal legislation making it illegal to fire someone for being gay, for instance. What would you think about a bill like that?
TIPTON: I’m a businessman. When you walk in the door, if you’re able to do the job and you’re focused on your job, that’s all that’s important.
KEYES: I assume you wouldn’t fire someone for being gay. But do you think it should be illegal for other businesses to do that?
TIPTON: I think we’ve got a good policy in this country of not being discriminatory and we should not be in regards to people’s personal lives. It is in the employment into the world. It’s about the ability to be able to do the job. That’s certainly my focus.
KEYES: So you would probably be voting in favor of something like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act?
TIPTON: Yeah, yeah. I don’t believe we ought to be discriminating against people for their private lives.
Of course, one Republican congressman changing his mind on ENDA does not a trend make, but Tipton’s move is still a positive sign. (One other GOP representative, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, also supports ENDA.) ENDA has been repeatedly stalled in Congress because of opposition from Republicans. Truthfully, it shouldn’t take a Democratic Congress to pass legislation that is so obviously about simple fairness, and adding the voices of conservatives like Rep. Tipton to the conversation helps to make that case.