I doubt that Paul's "retraction" will settle this issue. Even if it does, this should not preclude scrutiny of some of the other areas of discrimination that Paul addressed during those interviews.
During an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal, Paul said that Don't Ask, Don't Tell has "worked relatively well." DADT, however, has resulted in the discharge of thousands of qualified members of the armed forces.
Paul also described DADT as a "nonfraternization policy," which is patently false. Military rules certainly prohibit sexual relations among troops, but Don't Ask, Don't tell prevents any openly or known gay or lesbian person from serving in the military, regardless of whether the individual has violated nonfraternization rules. Paul seems to equate being gay with an individual having sex with his or her colleagues. This is a highly flawed position.
Americans With Disabilities Act
Paul appeared on NPR the day following his primary victory. During the interview, Paul reiterated his arguments regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also discussed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in places of public accommodation, employment and other settings.
With respect to the ADA, Paul said that:
I think that we should try to do everything we can to allow for people with disabilities and handicaps. You know, we do it in our office with wheelchair ramps and things like that. I think if you have a two-story office and you hire someone who's handicapped, it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator. And I think when you get to the solutions like that, the more local the better, and the more common sense the decisions are, rather than having a federal government make those decisions.Paul's portrayal of the ADA is terribly misleading. The statute does not even apply to the setting he describes, unless the building is a shopping center, airport or other transportation facility, or a medical office. As summarized by Department of Justice materials, ADA regulations include the following exemption regarding elevators in buildings:
This section does not require the installation of an elevator in a facility that is less than three stories or has less than 3000 square feet per story, except with respect to any facility that houses one or more of the following:In other words, Paul creates a frightening and misleading hypothetical in order to trash federal antidiscrimination law.
(i) A shopping center or shopping mall, or a professional office of a health care provider.
(ii) A terminal, depot, or other station used for specified public transportation, or an airport passenger terminal (italics added). . . .
Although Paul has tried to run away from his comments about race, he has not even begun to address his troubling statements concerning gay rights and the ADA. The media should not let him off the hook regarding these important issues.
For more on this issue, see: Rand Paul and Civil Rights: MISERABLE and A Conservative Defense of Rand Paul: He Is Telling the Truth; He's Not a Racist.