John Oliver explains why LGBT rights trump trumped-up religious freedoms, with examples

John Oliver talks LGTB rights
(Image credit: Last Week Tonight)

There has been some genuinely good news on gay rights, John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. At the Fox News presidential debate, for example, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said he had been to a gay wedding, and the audience clapped. "Wow, a gay wedding just got applause at a Republican debate," Oliver said. "Add that to the list of things that would have been unthinkable in 2004, like the phrase 'Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey.' People would have said you were insane." And it isn't just Kasich.

But that doesn't mean that all is good for the LGBT community. "While the idea of a gay wedding is increasingly widely accepted, it is worth noting that there are still a number of surprising ways to ruin a gay honeymoon," Oliver explained. "Discrimination against gay people is surprisingly legal in much of the country." In 31 states, people can be fired, evicted, or refused service just because they're gay. And he showed recent examples of each happening, only two of which took place in Texas.

Some states and local governments do have strong LGBT protections, and they're working to ensure equal protection to gays and lesbians, Oliver said. We could wait for every state to catch up, "but there are certain issues too important to be left to the states: specifically, civil rights — and state birds." After his rant about Oklahoma's state bird, Oliver explained why equal rights aren't special rights and why religious freedom isn't absolute, mentioned his own new church, and made some distasteful jokes about a Colorado baker. That recurring joke, plus some other language, probably makes this NSFW, at least without headphones. And as always, the laughs make the medicine go down easier. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.