A US Senator has said during an interview that he thinks gay people should not have any “special protections” against being fired from their jobs based on their sexual orientation.

Republican Senator for Florida Marco Rubio, made the comments during an interview when he was asked about legislation which the US Senate will take up this summer which could protect people from being sacked for being gay.

ThinkProgress reporter Scott Keyes asked Senator Rubio whether he would support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which, if passed by the US Senate, will make it illegal to sack a person based on sexual orientation.

He replied: “I haven’t read the legislation. By and large I think all Americans should be protected but I’m not for any special protections based on orientation.”

When asked whether he thought there should be protections for race or gender, Rubio responded: “Well that’s established law.”

29 US states currently have no law protecting against disrimination based on sexual orientation, and a further five states do not protect against discrimination based on gender identity.

Rubio, who has voiced his opposition to equal marriage, is also one of several Republican Senators who pledged to drop their support for a broad immigration reform bill currently in the US Senate, if it included an amendment to allow people to sponsor their same-sex foreign partners for a green card.

LGBT rights activists gathered outside Rubio’s Florida office to protest against the decision to originally withdraw an amendment to the immigration bill. Senator Leahy, who proposed the amendment is currently attempting to re-introduce it, after withdrawing it originally.