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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gays and Lesbians

Ending Employment Discrimination Against Gays and Lesbians
Source Tip:
american progress action.org

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or fail to promote employees simply based on sexual orientation. While the vast majority -- nearly 90 percent -- of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, there are surprisingly no federal prohibitions against such discriminatory behavior. On Wednesday, the House is expected to vote on this legislation, ensuring for the first time ever that gay and lesbian employees are afforded this critical federal protection. The ENDA legislation originally included all members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community, but lawmakers removed gender identity from the bill because it did not have the requisite support in the House to pass. "We do not have the votes to pass the bill with transgender" protections, said Frank. The relevant choice now facing progressives "is not between a limited ENDA and a comprehensive ENDA. It's a choice between a limited ENDA and no ENDA." Dale Carpenter of the Independent Gay Forum writes in support of passing a limited bill: "It's hard to see how [ENDA] serves any principle at all if it can't be enacted." Indeed, while passing legislation that prohibits only discrimination based on sexual orientation may not be the perfect strategy, it will likely hasten -- and be a critical predicate for -- legislation that protects the entire LGBT community over time. Urge your senators to support ENDA here.

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