Good for him. It'll probably be the kiss of death for his primary race, but GOP presidential primary challenger Tommy Thompson deserves our praise for saying the right thing. You'll recall that there was some confusion after the debate last night when Thompson first said that it would be okay for an employer to fire an employee simply because they're gay, then after the debate he appeared to backtrack. Well, now Thompson has come clean and said that it is not okay for an employer to fire someone simply because they're gay, that Wisconsin (where he was governor) has a law on the books banning such employment discrimination, he supports the law, and then he went on to compare prejudice against gays to prejudice against blacks (Coretta Scott King agrees with him).
The question still remains whether, at the federal level, Thompson supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would ban discrimination against gays in the workplace. But either way, Thompson just signed his death warrant with the religious right. Not that that means he can't win the election. He's an underdog, to be sure, but I think Republicans are going to start realizing two things:
- First, the bigots running the religious right do not represent the majority of evangelical Christians (i.e., most Christians in America don't spend their days figuring out who next to hate); and
- Second, the religious right is quickly becoming the third-rail of American politics. Embrace them and die at the general elections. They're kind of nutty, and definitely mean - and people have had enough of nutty, mean leaders.
Here's Thompson's clarification to CNN this morning:
THOMPSON: I made a mistake. I misinterpreted the question. I thought that I answered it yes when I should have answered it no. I didn't hear, I didn't hear the question properly and I apologize. It's not my position. There should be no discrimination in the workplace and I have never believed that. And, in fact, Wisconsin has one of the first laws, which I supported.
THOMPSON: So, I just made a mistake and that's all I can say. I'm sorry and I misinterpreted the question and I answered yes, when it should have been no.... It's not my position, it never has been. I have always been against discrimination and prejudice. In fact if you would have listened to the debate, they asked me a question about racism and I said that the president of the United States, whoever he is, has to take the point and has to be the person that does not allow discrimination or racism in any degree, whatsoever.