One Iowa staff and volunteers seek out presidential candidates to ask their positions on LGBTQ issues. Here are the responses collected to date:
Should an employer be able to fire an employee because that person is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?
“I think really the things you do in your house, we could just leave those in your house and they wouldn’t have to be part of the workplace, to tell you the truth. These are very difficult decisions on what you decide are the employer’s decisions and not. And it really isn’t so much about that question as it is about that it sets up a classification or a class of people who can now sue. You see what I mean?
And so what happens is it sets up a whole industry of people who want to sue. So if you happen to be gay and you get fired, now you have a reason you can fire them. But it’s almost impossible sometimes, you know, people don’t put up a sign saying “I’m firing you because you’re gay”. It’s something that’s very much disputed.
And so, I don’t know that we need to keep adding to different classifications to say that the government needs to be involved in the hiring and firing. I think society is rapidly changing and that if you are gay, there are plenty of places that will hire you. And I’d say the vast majority of corporations already privately have manuals or work manuals that say that they don’t discriminate in any way, and I think that to be the fact. So, I’m really not wanting the government involved in this situation.” – Drake University, 10/14/15
“I don’t think they should be fired, but I also don’t think we need a federal law. There are lots of things that shouldn’t happen that we don’t need a federal law for.” -Confluence Brewery, 8/12/15
“I’ve already answered that question.” -West End Salvage, 8/18/15
“Should an employer be able to fire an employee because that person is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?
I don’t think there should be discrimination against anybody, but I also don’t think the government should be intruding on the matters, like right now in Iowa you’ve got an all-out assault on Christian business owners. I think there are Christian florists, I think there are Christian musicians and caterers that are being forced to choose between following their conscience and being able to operate their business.
The real discrimination we see today are against individuals who want to continue to believe marriage being between a man and a woman. As a Christian, I don’t think our court can redefine the definition of marriage. I think, I signed an executive order in Louisiana saying we won’t discriminate against business owners and individuals who have a traditional view of marriage. Now the ACLU is suing us. I think that’s hypocritical. They were for religious freedom before they were against it.
So, look, I think we’re all created equal in God’s eyes, I’m not for discrimination. I think the discrimination that’s happening today is against Christian business owners and individuals who want to follow their conscience.” -Iowa State Fair, 8/22/15
“No. No, I don’t think so. Can I add another part to that?
The answer is no. They shouldn’t, but here’s the add-on corollary I’d like to add to this because, look. I don’t think we should discriminate against people based on sexual orientation. But I don’t think people of conscience should be forced to violate their conscience in the public square.
So, I’ll give you an example. A baker, if a gay couple walks in and says “I’d like to buy that cake”, they should not be discriminated against. Of course they should be able to buy that cake. But if a gay couple comes into a baker and says “I want you to participate in my wedding. I want you to help me plan the wedding. I want it to be beautiful and I want you to participate.” that baker ought to have the right to say, “Look, I love you, but I’m not gonna participate in the wedding because of religious conscience.” There’s a difference, right?
A big country, a big noble country ought to be able to sort out, those two, both of them should live in harmony. Whether it’s a florist, same thing. Or, you know, you shouldn’t discriminate based on sexual orientation as it relates to employment. These are things that most Americans understand. But right now, the argument I think is moving in a different direction, where people of conscience are not being allowed to act on their conscience.
Hillary Clinton basically said, she said, “If you have a religious belief, fine, you just have to keep it in your home or keep it in your church pews.” That’s not what the first freedom is all about. Our first amendment rights, of expression of faith, is acting on your faith. It’s not just having it, it’s acting on it.
And think of all the things that have improved because people have acted on their faith. People feed the homeless based on their relationship with Christ. People do all sorts of things based on their religious conscience, and I think we need to continue that really noble tradition.” -Indianola Pizza Ranch, 10/8/15
“I think that is a question of state law, so it varies state by state. And I think that is properly a decision for the states to make. You know for me, I’m a constitutionalist. And under the constitution, a great many decisions are left to the states.
I think marriage is properly a decision left to the states. And one of the many, many problems with the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision is you have five judges who ignored the text of the Constitution and just decreed the answer they wanted on marriage. And the proper avenue, if someone wants to change the marriage laws in a state, is to convince your fellow citizens to go to the legislature and change it. And so that’s where I think policy decisions ought to be decided.
We’ve got fifty states, people would expect the citizens of Iowa to resolve things differently than the citizens of California or New York or Florida or Texas, and that’s the beauty of a federalist nation.” -CrossRoads Shooting Sports, 12/4/15
Should a business be allowed to deny services to LGBT people?
“No, I don’t. But I also think that the government cannot impose its view of what people and how people should practice their religious liberty. You know, religious liberty honestly is under assault in this country. It truly is. And people are afraid that their government is going to tell them how to practice their religious liberty.
So, as a CEO, we provided benefits to all same-sex couples, we had very clear codes of conduct to make sure that anyone could bring all of themselves to work and be valued for that, but I must say we have come to a place in this country where people who hold more traditional views are being punished for their personal views. And that isn’t right either.” -Richardson Residence, Pleasant Hill, 10/16/15
“No, they should not. Listen. We have a system of laws in this country, and those laws need to be followed. And the fact is that religious organizations should be protected from having to do anything that violates their religious belief system as a religious organization. That should be protected. But other businesses who want to do business, they should have to be able to do business under the laws of our country.
When I took an oath of office as governor, my oath of office was to enforce the laws of the state of New Jersey. Not the laws I like, or the laws that I agree with, but all the laws. And if we don’t want to have a country of men and women, but a country of laws where everyone is treated equally, that’s what we need to do. And so religious organizations absolutely should be protected, everyone should be able to freely practice their religion the way they see fit, but businesses should not be allowed to discriminate, no.” -Iowa State Fair, 8/22/15
“No. No, it’s public accommodations, you know. And just like we, you know, in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other relevant legislation said you can’t deny services to African Americans, so no.” -DMACC Ankeny Campus FFA Enrichment Center, 8/26/15
“They should be able to provide services to any American citizen.” -DMACC Ankeny Campus Health Sciences Building, 10/2/15
“No.” -Confluence Brewery, 9/5/15
As President, what would you do to alleviate the judicial emergency crisis?
“The parties align, so I would work with a Republican Senate to get judges on the bench, that’s the first thing. Because once you get that process moving the right way, I think it’s been a long time since we’ve had a Senate and President in the same party to be able to move that stuff through.
That’s the biggest thing, is getting good, qualified folks who are not going to make law, but who are going to interpret the law, on the district court and on the circuit courts. I think that’s the biggest thing you could do, is make that a priority. Get good people in charge of your appointments process. Work with the Senate and get it moving.
Being an old federal prosecutor, I know. More judges are better. We’ve gotta start moving those cases through.” -Chris Christie Iowa Headquarters, 11/13/15
“I think having strong judges on the bench who follow the law and follow the constitution is critically important. And it’s something where, from my end, I’ve spent most of my adult life fighting judicial activism and fighting for strong judges, so I intend to appoint to the bench principled judicial conservatives who follow the constitution.
You see too many judges that view their role as just decreeing whatever policy views they like. That’s not the role of a judge. And so as President, I’m going to fight hard to fill every judicial vacancy and fill them with strong judicial conservatives.” -CrossRoads Shooting Sports, 12/4/15
“I just saw the Republicans aren’t going to confirm any more judges, so there’s going to be a huge backlog that the next president will have to deal with. And he’s got to be all in to vet everybody and to get it going.
We did that. We had the opportunity to appoint a hundred judges in one fell swoop when we funded more positions. I just created a massive army of people to do all the vetting, which is really important to get right.
But there’s going to be a big opportunity. I want to appoint as many judges as I can.“ -DMACC Ankeny Campus FFA Enrichment Center, 1/12/16
“Meaning more judges? That’s easy. I hope he [President Obama] doesn’t appoint too many, actually, because I’d rather appoint mine.
You know, we do have some judges that are, well, one of them was appointed by Bush. As you know, Justice Roberts approved Obamacare. Twice! We could have had Obamacare knocked out twice, and by every standard, what he did was wrong. And one of the other judges practically won’t even speak to him again. It’s very interesting. What he did was wrong, and we have Obamacare.
So, I’d almost rather have not too many judges appointed at this point. We can wait for another year, and let’s appoint some really good judges.” -Living History Farms, 1/15/16
“First of all, I want to make sure we have the right judges. The people being nominated now, I don’t care how much of a shortage there is, I’m not confirming some of these people.
I’m not confirming people to the Supreme Court who think that their job is manipulating the Constitution. We have a lot of judges who think that their job is to sit there and decide what the right thing for the country is, and then figure out a way to manipulate the Constitution to justify their outcome. That’s not their job.
The job of a trial judge is to conduct a trial, a trial of facts. And the job of an appellate judge is to apply the Constitution, even if you don’t agree with the outcome, your job is to apply the Constitution as originally intended. And that’s what my judges are going to do.
That’s why this is such a big issue. Look, I don’t negative campaign, which means I don’t attack personally other candidates. But there are policy differences, and I point out the policy differences.
For example, in the last debate, the moderators asked about me and Chris Christie, and I like Chris Christie. I really do. I like him personally. He’s a Dallas Cowboys fan and I don’t know why, but other than that I like him a lot. But there’s some policy differences between us, you know, he supported Common Core, he supports gun control, and one of the things he supported was Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
I would never support someone like that to the Supreme Court. Not because I don’t like her; I don’t even know her. But her view of the job of an appellate judge is not what we need on the Supreme Court. And the next president may be able to appoint up to three or four people. And we’re going to have a lot more people like Scalia and Thomas and a lot less people like Kagan and Sotomayor when I’m president of the United States. It’s a big issue.” -Stoney Creek Inn, 1/16/16
“By that, you are talking about the long period of time it takes to appoint federal judges? I’m going to come off my stool for this.
Look, we are facing a time of some pretty profound divisions in our country and in our politics. And you know what the most recurring question is that I get all across your state right now? It’s the question, ‘How are you going to heal these divisions? How are you going to work with this Congress?’ There’s a sinking sense out there that somehow our divisions have become greater than we are, and it’s the most important work of this time.
What I suggest to people when they ask questions like these is for your decision on caucus night, a way to think about it is which of the three of us running for the Democratic party’s nomination has the best chance of healing these divisions.
You see, all my life I have not been a divider. I’ve brought people together to get things done. If I weren’t that way, I wouldn’t have accomplished the results that I have. I don’t consider all Republicans to be my enemies. I hope you don’t either. Republicans aren’t our enemies. They’re our colleagues, our friends, they’re our uncles, right?
So on all of these things, as governor what I also learned was this. That your job is to get to know the members of the Republican party and the Democratic party. People of your own party and the opposite party.
It took us three times to pass marriage equality, and the only way we got it done was with some Republican votes. It took us three times to repeal the death penalty and again, only because of some Republican votes. There’s a different combination every time.
We used to do bipartisan pizza nights at the governor’s mansion. I figure the reason they give you the free food and the big house is to have people over. And so this is how you reinforce the strength of those soft ties.
So on the federal judicial emergency, look, we’ve got to make the appointments in a timely way, and we’ve got to hope that because of the election, and the reset button here that is every election, we can start healing what’s tearing us apart and making us dysfunctional. And I’m willing to throw my energies into that a thousand percent.” -Simpson College, 1/25/16