John Oliver turned his sharp tongue toward states that allow discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity during Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight.”
Oliver then pointed out that LGBT people are at risk of being fired, refused service, or evicted in 31 states that do not have anti-discrimination laws. He then noted that most people believe it is illegal under federal law to discriminate as such, which it is not.
He then showcased several cases of people being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, like Texas social worker Casey Stegall who was fired after bringing his fiancé to help him on an assignment one day. He was then fired because his boss was not comfortable with his “lifestyle choice.”
“For the record, being gay is clearly not a lifestyle choice,” Oliver said. “A lifestyle choice is when a man get obnoxiously into jazz or goes on an Atkins diet and starts a food blog called ‘Protein Wolf.'”
Oliver then called into question a recently-passed Arkansas law that specifically prohibits the passage of any law that would grant civil rights to gay people. One of the sponsors of the bill said, “[Gay people] shouldn’t get more rights than I do and I shouldn’t get more rights than them.”
“What are you talking about?” Oliver said. “This is not about special rights. We’re not talking about creating lesbians only sections on airplanes or putting up signs at Six Flags that say ‘You Must Be this Gay to Go on This Ride.'”
He then tore into people who use religious freedom as a justification for discriminating against LGBT people. “The Constitution isn’t the star in Super Mario Bros. It doesn’t make you invincible so you can do whatever the f–k you want.”
Oliver concluded by saying that he and his staff had reached out the campaigns of every current Presidential candidate and asked them if they would support a law or laws that outlaws discrimination against LGBT people. Only four candidates responded.
Democrats Lincoln Chafee, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders all said they would support such a law. The only Republican to respond was Rand Paul, whose campaign simply said, “We’ll pass. Thanks.”