Gingrich Backpedals On Job Rights For Gays
A day after standing alongside his lesbian sister and urging tolerance for gay men and women, House Speaker Newt Gingrich incurred the wrath of advocates for homosexual rights Tuesday when he said there should be no federal protection for job rights based upon a worker’s sexual orientation.
“I don’t think their boss ought to ask them about their private life,” Gingrich said in response to a question. But when pressed, he added: “I don’t think you should have a right of filing a federal lawsuit or having the federal government protect you based upon your sexual behavior.”
The speaker has voiced such views before, but his remarks Tuesday - a day after a coalition of gay rights leaders, including Gingrich’s sister, Candace Gingrich, began a lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill - carried a much greater political punch.
“The speaker is clearly under pressure from extremists who are bent on distorting these issues with divisive and dehumanizing rhetoric,” said Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the nation’s largest gay and lesbian political group, Human Rights Campaign Fund.
“His remarks are disingenuous after he appeared yesterday with his sister, Candace, and told the truth about American families. He should spend more time with his family and less time with radical right extremists.”
Media are ‘mortal enemy’
Also Monday, Gingrich told corporate executives that many newspaper editorial boards contain “socialists” and that their companies should reconsider whether to advertise in papers that oppose their views.
During a private dinner at the Capitol Hill Club, Gingrich told 200 business executives and fellow lawmakers that the Establishment press is the “mortal enemy” of reformminded Republicans.
The crowd included chief executive officers and Washington lobbyists representing such companies as Citicorp and John Deere.
In a telephone interview Tuesday, Gingrich confirmed he had said that corporate executives “need to find alternative methods” of getting their message across because of the presence of “socialists” on many editorial boards.
Asked if he is advocating an advertising boycott, Gingrich said his remarks were directed at editorial pages that have not been supportive of capitalism. He said he merely was explaining that businessmen who advertise “ought to go to the publishers and tell them” that they object to the paper’s editorial stance.