'Duck Dynasty' Star Would Not Have Been Fired If He Supported Gay Marriage, Constitutional Lawyer Says

December 19, 2013 - 11:28 PM
Ken Klukowski

Ken Klukowski, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, spoke on Dec. 19, 2013 at FRC in Washington, D.C., about the Duck Dynasty controversy and the erosion of religious liberty in the United States. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – What would A&E do if one of its stars told a national magazine that they supported same-sex marriage?

Ken Klukowski, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, said  they probably wouldn’t have faced the same fate as "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson, who was “suspended indefinitely” from the cable channel’s hit show after he said in an interview with GQ magazine that he believes homosexuality is a sin.

“It violates the whole principles underlying the First Amendment to say that a person, who just in their own plain spoken manner, that they quote the Bible and express that as their belief on some issue that everyone knows is an issue of public concern and debate – to say that you can fire them for that," Klukowski said on Thursday at an event at FRC in Washington, D.C.

“But somehow I suspect that if another person had said, ‘Well, I actually support gay marriage,’ I don’t think that person would have been fired,” Klukowski said.

Klukowski, a constitutional lawyer, said the controversy surrounding Robertson’s remarks is just the latest in on ongoing assault on religious liberty in the United States.

“You have a Christian man who’s a star of that show who shared his religious beliefs on an issue of public concern and public discussion,” Klukowski said. “And for that there was outrage on the left that anyone who has such thoughts – anyone who had such religious beliefs or dared to speak them is not fit to be on television.”

In the GQ article, Robertson paraphrased the New Testament, Corinthians 6:9-10 by saying: "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God.

“Don't deceive yourself,” Robertson said. “It's not right."

The New American Standard Bible reads: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Gay rights groups condemned Robertson’s remarks, including the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which issued a statement from the gay activist group’s spokesman Wilson Cruz, who said they “fly in the face of what true Christians believe.”

Klukowski said he found Cruz’s statement “extraordinary.”

“The Bible is, according to Christian belief, it is the word of God, it is the holy text of the Christian religion, and it the basis of Christian belief on everything to which it speaks,” Klukowski said.

He said A&E’s actions discriminate against Robertson because of his religious beliefs.

“Why discriminate against this man because of his Christian viewpoint on something that the American people are clearly divided on – something that has been national policy ever since this nation’s founding and is still the law in the majority of the 50 states in this country and that regardless of how those poll numbers change will always be the belief of tens of millions of Bible-believing Christians as well as Orthodox Jews and various members of other faiths as well?” Klukowski asked.