Utah Republican James Green, who happens to be the vice-chairman of the Wasatch County GOP, apologized Thursday for a letter he wrote that flat-out says women shouldn’t be paid as much as men. The letter, published in the Wasatch Wave, addressed Senate Bill 210, which would require employers to adopt basic equal-pay policies.
“Traditionally men have earned more than women in the workplace because they are considered the primary breadwinners for families,” the letter read. “They need to make enough to support their families and allow the Mother to remain in the home to raise and nurture the children.” If businesses pay men and women the same, Green wrote, then men will get paid less overall: “simple economics.” He went on:
And as even more women thus enter the workforce that creates more competition for jobs (even men’s jobs) and puts further downward pressure on the pay for all jobs … meaning more and more Mothers will be forced into the workforce. And that is bad for families and thus for all of society.
“We should encourage our Legislators to drop the whole notion,” the letter concluded. But in a follow-up letter to Fox 13, Green said he didn’t mean to offend anybody or to undervalue women’s contributions in the workplace. “I want to clarify the main focus of my letter was to express that I don’t feel the government should be dictating to private establishments what they must do in regard to employment, hiring, or wages,” he said. “There was no offense intended toward Women, whatsoever. And yet some took it that way.”
Sure, Green is just echoing the hands-off approach the majority of Republicans take when it comes to inequality. But as the director of the Utah Women’s Coalition pointed out, it’s actually illegal to pay women less than men. “It’s against the law by both the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Utah antidiscrimination provisions here in Utah law,” she said, but added it’s a “positive” thing for Green to openly acknowledge the pay gap in the first place.