Republican State Rep. Woody Burton of Indiana recently compared LGBTQ rights to rights for "fat white people" and compared homosexual behavior to the behavior of convicted child porn criminal Jared Fogle and psychopathic killers.
Burton was answering a question from a citizen during a town hall meeting in Whiteland, Indiana, on Jan. 23 about some proposed bills that would ban discrimination in the state based on sexual orientation and gender identity, notes The Indianapolis Star.
“If someone’s a psychopathic killer, it’s a behavior thing," Burton said, according to The Star. "They can’t help it. OK? Somebody’s a homosexual, maybe it’s a genetic thing. Maybe it’s not. They can’t help it. But it’s still a behavioral thing.”
Burton then mentioned Fogle, who was a former Subway sandwich personality.
“This thing with Subway and Jared is a classic example of what’s the next step,” Burton added. “And you say, oh that will never happen. I’ve got articles on my computer at home from the English newspapers saying that those people can’t help it and they ought to be protected in England.”
Burton also questioned why LGBTQ people should have legal protection from discrimination while white overweight people do not:
If I pass a law that says transgenders and homosexuals are covered under the civil rights laws, then does it say anywhere that fat white people are covered? What if I’m overweight? I don’t mean that to be facetious. I’ve been fat all my life and people used to make fun of me when I was a kid.
I could probably do something about it, okay? Maybe I can’t. Maybe it’s just my habits. Maybe I got some physical thing. But when I was a kid there were people who discriminated against me because I was fat.
Burton attempted to clarify his statements during a Jan. 26 interview with the The Star.
“When I talk about behavioral things, I want to stress that I’m not comparing gays to Jared or people that are psychotic,” Burton said. "I was trying to explain behavior is a thing that people have and sometimes they can control it and sometimes they can’t. When we start talking about civil rights based on behavior, where do we draw the line?”
Indiana's State Senate Bill 100 would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in jobs, housing and public accommodations (businesses that serve the public), but would still provide a large loophole for people and small businesses that object to LGBTQ people based on religious beliefs, according to the Advocate. State Senate Bill 344 would only apply to sexual orientation.