October 5th, 2010
09:14 AM ET
4 years ago

DeMint takes heat for gays, unwed moms comment

(CNN) – A spokesman for Sen. Jim DeMint tells CNN the South Carolina Republican was merely stating his position that school boards should be in control of hiring decisions when the senator reportedly said Saturday that gays and unwed mothers should be banned from teaching.

"Senator DeMint believes that hiring decisions at local schools are a local school board issue, not a federal issue. He was making a point about how the media attacks people for holding a moral opinion," a spokesman for DeMint said Tuesday.

Speaking at a church rally in Spartanburg, South Carolina, DeMint told attendees people quietly told him he should not back down from a position he took in 2004 that openly gay individuals and single mothers who are involved in a sexual relationship should not be allowed to teach. He did not weigh in on whether unwed men should be allowed to teach.

"(When I said those things,) no one came to my defense," he said, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. "But everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn't back down. They don't want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion."

DeMint, who faces an easy Senate re-election battle against Democratic candidate Alvin Greene, has become a king-maker in conservative circles, backing many candidates in the GOP primaries who defeated candidates supported by establishment Republicans.

Responding to DeMint's comments, the Republican organization GOProud said, “Jim DeMint is doing his best to make Alvin Greene look sane.”

“Jim DeMint’s comments can only be described as outrageous and bizarre," said Christopher R. Barron, Chairman of the GOProud Board. "The idea that someone who says they believe in limited government would support the government weeding out gay teachers and unmarried sexually active female teachers simply defies logic.”


Filed under: 2010 • Jim DeMint
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. phoenxi86

    DeMint's right. Of course, the fringe left will go bonkers at thïs "intollerance" (note that for the fringe left, intollerance is now defined as having an opinion different from theirs).

    October 5, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Tony

    What does the ability to teach have to do with a person's sexual orientation or gender? This republican senator wants to make unemployment worse for people because they do no fit into his version of what is moral or religious? This country's going down the toilet. I'm not even sure if there's a reason to be proud of to be an American anymore.

    October 5, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. Richard

    I'm really tired of this smoke and mirrors routine. There are real issues to take up page space. Leave the sordid remarks to the local news carriers and the voters in his state. My mom was a single parent AND teacher. Big deal. Things happen and it shouldn't be an issue that takes up news cycles.....unless the media is concerned about masking REAL ISSUES.

    October 5, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. Cosmo

    "They don't want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion."
    Jimbo, this is the classic conservative hypocricy – that they oppose big government but they want the government to regulate people's personal lives to reflect conservative values. Instead of thumping their Bibles, these people out to read them, especially the part about "judge not and be not judged". And Jimmy, if South Carolina schools are getting any Federal aid, discrimination is a Federal issue, not a local school board issue. Get this clown out of the Senate.

    October 5, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. Jason

    He wouldnt be the first Rightie to horribly blunder his point about state's rights. They need to give it up.

    October 5, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Matt

    It's 2010 and people think this way? Very very scary!

    October 5, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "Senator DeMint believes that hiring decisions at local schools are a local school board issue, not a federal issue."

    The 1st Amendment, the 14th Amendment, the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, the rest of the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act (among quite a few other pieces of legislation) beg to differ. Moron. Just come out and say it: "we hate the federal government and Constitution because they prevent us from discriminating against and terrorizing minority groups that we don't like." It's not so hard. No need to talk in code...it's not like you'r ehiding anything from the rest of us by doing so anyway.

    October 5, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. jr

    People who watch TV should be banned from teaching. And people who smoke. And people who are in the Republican Party. You know, come to think of it, there really are no adults who are sufficiently pure to teach children. All they do is trample on our rights, even if you can't find any right like that in our laws. I mean, just look at how this senator turned out. All of his teachers must have been lesbian single-mothers.

    October 5, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Not All Docs Play Golf

    A "moral opinion"? I say not. The arrogance of the religious right claiming a monopoly on morality is sickening.

    October 5, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. Ferret out the BS

    I don't quite understand how anyone can equate personal and private lives with job ability and competence. They're making an assumption that because a teacher is a single mother and having an intimate relationship that somehow that will either spill over into the classroom and that being a gay teacher will somehow affect their ability to teach. That type of thinking is antiquated and ignorant, there is no imperical evidence that that any sort of correlation exists. This is just another attempt to exclude Americans from society because of personal moral beliefs with no hard facts. "You're guilty until proven innocent" how hippocritical and completely against what the constitution of this country guarantees.

    October 5, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Ben

    "the senator reportedly said Saturday that gays and unwed mothers should be banned from teaching."

    Build a space craft, put these over the top conservatives in them and press the "get the hell off our planet" button because they
    are obviously not of this world...you kidding me, in 2010 a politician stands up and says something like this? Seriously?

    October 5, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. shadysider

    The 'economic conservatives' outside the Ron Pauls and Gary Johnsons are just prejudiced social conservatives. Isn't Demint the 'Tea Party Senator'? They (Fox News,Republicans and now social conservatives) hijacked the tea party and are going to destroy what it stood for. What originally stood for economic responsibility will come to be what the Republican party stands for. Socially conservative neocons who want to regulate how we live while deregulating business to allow for corporate profit. Nothing more, nothing less.

    October 5, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. John Costello

    This man is disgusting.

    October 5, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. Jason

    How can things get better when you have Republican clowns like this guy discriminating against anyone who doesn't fit his mold. If anything gay teen suicide will only double or triple.

    October 5, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. Gumboz1953

    "He did not weigh in on whether unwed men should be allowed to teach." THANK YOU.

    At last, the media are calling out these idiots and exposing their absurd positions. It's about time.

    October 5, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Shelly

    I can't believe the hate and bigotry amongst the GOP and the Tea Party candidates . Is this the America we really want???

    October 5, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Squiggs

    This is what you're going to get folks. This man is the head of the Tea party resurgence in this years election. You think their hatred stops at gays and unwed mothers(exception being Bristol Palin) who they adore. They hate everybody who is not exactly like them. That means most of us. Good luck after this bunch gets back in power.

    October 5, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. chuck

    Ignorance always gets its cues from the church and usually has an (R) in front of its name. These people want the freedom of religion and the freedom to deny everyone else. They want their cake and they want to eat it too. They are the first to cry victim if they perceive that their religious freedoms are being abused, but the first to abuse everyone else freedom. Their freedoms entail freedom to stomp others. That is not a freedom, that has been a license to abuse others with hocus pocus supernatural and metaphysical dung.

    October 5, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. Not All Docs Play Golf

    The more people vote Republican, the more DeMints we can expect in power......Angle, O'Donnell, Rand...I would hate to see these people come to power rob us of our freedoms. True patriots see the "Tea Party" as a threat to liberty and democracy. NO TEA FOR ME.

    October 5, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. Independent In Albany

    Another right wing radical. Please stop calling these folks "conservative" They have no clue what it means to be one.

    October 5, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. Chris

    I am shocked – shocked – that a Republican would make a bigoted, intolerant remark.

    October 5, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. independent

    Does anyone really think this man's opinions are any more enlightened than that of an average teapartier? So, an unwed mother involved in a 'sexual relationship' cannot be a teacher; but an unwed father can. What about any single woman, mother or not, if she decides that havnig a 'sexual relationship' is normal, does that mean she can't teach?

    This guy is certainly back to basics, back to the good old days. Keep woman barefool, pregnant and in the kitchen.

    October 5, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. Canuck

    The man is clearly twisted. Its unfortunate that such men can rise to power in the United States.

    October 5, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. usa/canada

    oh my lord, and my family and freinds wonder why i would never live in the u.s.a the land of my birth the country i served with honor because i like living in a free and just land OH CANADA!

    October 5, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. liberalTex

    These old GOP'ers that hold those ignorant old south opinions ought to just go away. I am so sick of them trying to bring back all that hate and discrimnation in this country. These church goers that he speaks of supporting this hate and division obvisously don't understand the first thing about being a Christian. Being a christian means trying to be Christ-like. Jesus did not go about trying to encourage discrimination. He taught love and acceptace, something these radical churches simply chose not to grasp. I guess they have other motives then trying to be Christ-like.

    October 5, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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