Republican State Rep. Rick Brattin of Missouri asserted during a floor debate that being homosexual is different from being a human being when view through the lens of religion.
On May 8, the Missouri House debated a Senate bill amendment that would have prohibited businesses in their state from terminating employees or residents on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender. The measure failed to garner enough votes to advance, meaning that LGBTQ residents of Missouri can be fired, The Kansas City Star reports.
"You can fire somebody for just cause if you find out they're gay," Republican State Rep. Kevin Engler, who introduced the amendment, said on the House floor. "I think that's sick. We should be disgusted we have that policy in this state."
During the floor debate, Brattin argued against the amendment on the basis of religious liberty. In his statement, the lawmaker asserted that religions do not recognize LGBTQ people as human.
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"When you look at the tenets of religion, of the Bible, of the Koran, of other religions, there is a distinction between homosexuality and just being a human being," Brattin said, according to Refinery29. "It is... morally wrong and it is considered wrong by Scripture of the Holy Bible and other religious beliefs."
Regarding transgender people, Brattin said "It is wrong to hate and cast judgment on someone. But you have a policy in place that you don't want someone to show up that was a guy yesterday to show up as a girl today and you believe that's wrong and you don't believe that's fitting for your company, then I have that right to say 'No, I'm sorry, you are not going to show up as a cross-dresser today in my business.'"
The Missouri lawmaker declined to comment on his remarks after being contacted by journalists.
The amendment was attached to Senate Bill 43, which would require Missouri residents to prove that discrimination was the primary reason for their firing and not just a component in order to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination. The bill has been passed by the state Legislature and is pending the signature of Republican Gov. Eric Greiten.
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Several social media users condemned Brattin's remarks as bigoted, The Huffington Post reports.
"Shame on [Brattin] - Gay People are Fully Human contrary to his belief," wrote on Twitter user, who added that transgender people "aren't Cross-Dressers."
Another Twitter user wrote "Well, my message to Rep. Rick [Brattin] would be: There is a clear distinction between being an a**hole and just being a decent human being."