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PolitiFact logo with total bull meter
I'd say "Oh my God! No, they did not," except of course PolitiFact did this. Speaking on CBS, Martina Navratilova, the retired tennis player who was one of the earliest and most prominent athletes to come out, said that "In 29 states in this country you can still get fired for not just being gay, but if your employer thinks you are gay." There are, in fact, 29 states in which state law does not protect workers from anti-gay discrimination, making that a true statement. PolitiFact's rating? "Half true." Why? Because, as PolitiFact concluded:
If you frame this statement in the context of blanket protections by states, she’s correct. Still, even in those 29 states, many gay and lesbian employees do have protections, either because they work for the government, because they live in a city that bars such discrimination, or because they work for a company that has pledged not to discriminate based on sexual orientation. On balance, we rate Navratilova’s claim Half True.
Yup. According to PolitiFact, because some employers, including the government, don't discriminate, it's somehow less true that those 29 states lack protections for LGBT workers.

Here's the thing about workplace protections, including discrimination: You shouldn't have to be lucky to be treated fairly. Equal rights should not be dependent on your employer's personal views. In 29 states, though, that's the situation, and PolitiFact is so invested in pretending that doesn't matter that it's challenging a statement that it acknowledges is correct if framed "in the context of blanket protections by states"—which is exactly how Navratilova framed it.

PolitiFact has been at the level of farce for quite a while now, whether giving different answers on whether a plurality is a majority depending who claimed it was, letting Mitt Romney off the hook because there are no Republicans on a Democratic primary ballot, or providing an assessment of how factual Romney would have been if he'd said something other than what he said. A lot of the time, its most farcical moments have looked like an attempt to avoid seeming partisan by making Republicans and Democrats look equally untruthful, but this shows an even deeper slant. Downplaying the fact that workers in 29 states can be fired for being gay says that PolitiFact is uncomfortable with the idea that government has a legitimate role in protecting workers from employers. It says that PolitiFact's position is that if some workers are protected, good enough. And in that, PolitiFact is putting opinion over fact.

(Via Jamison Foser)

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Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Kos Community and Daily Kos.

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