Johnny Isakson waffles on protecting LGBT employees

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U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson faced a slam dunk question during his town hall on Monday – does he support protecting LGBT employees from discrimination. But he waffled, bobbed and weaved and then blew it.

Even with polls showing a majority of Americans supporting workplace protections for LGBT employees, Isakson just couldn't do it. A gay Kennesaw State University student questioned him on the issue during the often contentious town hall on campus and Isakson couldn't muster a clear answer. Via Marietta Daily Journal:

Some members of the audience made it known that they felt Isakson was dodging questions at several points during the night. One such occasion came when an openly gay KSU student asked Isakson whether he would support civil rights protections that would prevent employers from firing someone for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

“Yes or no,” shouted members of the audience.

“You have a right to be treated fairly and equitably as does every other American regardless of their orientation,” Isakson said. “I’ll always stand up for that right … As long as it applies to all the civil rights of all the people regardless of their orientation, then I support it completely. But if it gets to singling out one over another, then I don’t.”

Isakson moved on to the next question.

The MDJ article didn't catch it, but a video of Isakson's exchange with the student shows that he said, “regardless of their orientation or their choice.” Ugh. Listen to Isakson's answer below – skip to 48:48.

Here's Isakson's real answer: No. In 2013, he voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act when other Republicans voted for it as the Senate passed the measure for the time in its history. In the four years since, Isakson hasn't moved away from his position that it's OK to discriminate against LGBT workers.

Many Republican lawmakers in Georgia feel the same way.

Isakson also can't muster the courage to stand up for transgender members of the military. In the days following President Donald Trump's tweet supporting a ban on them, Isakson equivocated again. Via the Marietta Daily Journal:

What do you think about the president’s announcement that he will ban transgender troops from the military? Do you agree?

“That came out of left field. We had already dealt with that issue in the Congress. I don’t know what the president — he must have run out of things to do that morning. That was totally unexpected by everybody. I’m going to wait ‘til the generals tell us what to do. They’re the ones that know.”

When Isakson waffles on LGBT issues, it's simply his code for no.


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