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WATCH: To Avoid Discrimination, Stay Closeted, Says Rand Paul

WATCH: To Avoid Discrimination, Stay Closeted, Says Rand Paul

Rand Paul

Leave your identity at home and don't bring it into the workplace, says the Republican presidential hopeful.

Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul has a suggestion for how LGBT people can avoid discrimination: Stay in the closet.

At a campaign event at Drake University in Des Moines today, a member of the audience asked Paul if employers should be able to fire a person for being gay. Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky, replied, "The things you do in your house, if you leave them in your house, they wouldn't have to be part of the workplace."

He also said, "If you are gay, there are plenty of places that will hire you," and objected to LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination laws because they provide yet more people with grounds to bring lawsuits.

"Rand Paul appears to be living in a different era," said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, in a press release. "People should not be required to live in the closet or hide who they are in order to be treated equally and fairly under the law. Rand Paul is going to find very little support for his views among the nine out of 10 Americans who have an LGBT person in their lives. But Rand Paul's comments do beg the question of whether his fellow candidates will call him out for embracing a platform of discrimination."

So far they haven't. Paul's position is common among the Republican field -- most of the candidates oppose enacting laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination, with notable exceptions being New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York Gov. George Pataki -- at least, they did so in their home states. Businessman Donald Trump has said being gay shouldn't be a reason to fire an employee, but he hasn't discussed specific legislation.

Thirty-one states lack fully inclusive nondiscrimination laws, and several attempts at passing a federal law have failed. The current iteration of the federal proposal is the Equality Act, more comprehensive than its predecessor, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Watch video of Paul's remarks below.

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