Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said Tuesday that anti-LGBT laws across the U.S. are “motivated” by the same hate behind Orlando’s recent massacre at a gay nightclub.
“I think it’s important for folks to realize the type of hate and prejudice that motivated this individual is still fed by the discrimination we have in so many states,” Merkley said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “In Florida, you can be fired from your job if you’re gay or lesbian. You can be kicked out of a restaurant or theater. You can be kicked out of rental housing.”
Forty-nine people were killed and 53 others were injured when a gunman opened fire early Sunday morning at Pulse, a gay club. Authorities have identified the gunman as Omar Mateen, 29, who died during a battle with responding police officers.
Mateen’s rampage at the gay nightspot during Pride Month has fueled speculation his actions were motivated by anti-LGBT animosity.
“We need to end discrimination across this country [and] fully embrace our vision of constitutional opportunity for every single American,” Merkley said. “Maybe that will do something to send the message to virtually everyone that our culture, to embrace opportunity for all.”