John Oliver Advocates LGBT Anti Discrimination Laws on ‘Last Week Tonight’


Outside of continuing his crusade against televangelists, on last night’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver launched into a 15-minute assessment of LGBT civil rights, and the legislation that could be instituted to protect them in post-same-sex-marriage-legalized America. He began the segment by noting certain presidential candidates’ responses to the question, “Would you attend a gay wedding?” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gave a particularly uncomfortable, roundabout response, acting as though the question contained a horse tranquilizer.

Despite its being unfathomable for some candidates, Oliver emphasized that “the idea of a gay wedding is increasingly widely accepted,” recalling how applause broke out at a Republican Debate over a candidate attending a wedding. “Add that to the things that would have been considered unthinkable in 2004, like the phrase Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey,” he joked. Thankfully, he quickly segued past marriage talk, through a clip of Rhode Island representative David Cicilline saying, “A person can get married on Saturday, post photos of their wedding on Sunday, and get fired from their job and thrown out of their apartment on Monday, just because of who they are.” Oliver used this as a cue to lambaste the legality of discrimination, and how 31 states leave people “at risk of being fired, evicted or refused service just because they’re gay.”

He acknowledged, as was seen so vividly in Ellen Page’s impromptu debate with Ted Cruz last week, that the main argument against enacting laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination is fear of impingements on religious freedom. Oliver asserted that there should reasonable limits to these freedoms, as in the case of the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple, but was fine with making a wedding cake for dogs. The baker lost his case, Oliver notes, because Colorado, unlike 31 other states, has a law banning sexual orientation-based discrimination. “The problem is, there are still way too many states that don’t have [these] laws at all,” says Oliver.

Watch the segment: