WASHINGTON, DC — Republicans have obstructed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) for years, preventing a federal law from prohibiting discrimination against LGBT employees. On Thursday, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) told ThinkProgress that he would be in favor of preventing employment discrimination, if there is a way to “not mess up many states’ employment laws” in the process.
STIVERS: I’m somebody that believes in nondiscrimination [...] I’m not familiar with that issue but none of us are for discrimination. The key is how you work it, how you do with it, and what you do to states laws like employment at will. You have to be careful to not mess up many states’ employment laws by doing that. There might be a way to do it. I’m certainly not for discrimination so there might be a way to get there.
The current patchwork of state laws leaves more than half of Americans vulnerable to anti-LGBT discrimination. Employers in 29 states can fire workers for being gay or lesbian, and a person can be fired for being transgender in 34 states. But ENDA has stalled because Stivers’ Republican colleagues insist that firing someone for sexual orientation should be perfectly legal.