In an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Al Hunt, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said the state’s LGBT employee protections combined with the ban on same-sex marriage helps to create “a healthy balance.”
In the interview, Hunt asks if the United States’ House should follow the Senate and ban LGBT workplace discrimination. However, the governor insists he hasn’t “looked into that particular bill,” and goes on to praise the Badger State for its existing thirty-year-old law, the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA). Walker claims LGBT residents are protected from employment, housing, education, and credit discrimination under WFEA—a law that was signed by former Governor Lee S. Dreyfus in 1982.
At the time, Dreyfus said, “It is a fundamental tenet of the Republican Party that government ought not intrude on the private lives of individuals where no state purpose is served, and there is nothing more private or intimate than who you live with and who you love.”
While Walker claims that they’ve only experienced “limited problems” with the law, his appointee to the Labor and Industry Review Commission, Laurie McCallum, ruled in 2011 that an employee being called a “fag” in the workplace is not protected under the WFEA. It seems that without federal change or further reform in Wisconsin, the existing laws may not be enough to protect Wisconsin’s LGBT population.
However, Walker describes WFEA as being reminiscent of ENDA, stating, “In Wisconsin, we’ve had anti-discriminatory laws that are very similar to [ENDA] for more than thirty years, and they work quite effectively. We’re also a state that has a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as one man and one woman…There’s a healthy balance there.”