House Speaker John Boehner: LGBT Employment Protections Are ‘Unnecessary’


On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reiterated his opposition to allowing a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which the Senate passed last week. According to Boehner, the bill, which would federally prohibit employment discrimination against LGBT people, is “unnecessary” because “people are already protected in the workplace”:

BOEHNER: I am opposed to discrimination of any kind — in the workplace and any place else. But I think this legislation — that I have dealt with as chairman of the Education Workforce Committee long before I was back in the leadership — is unnecessary and would provide a basis for frivolous lawsuits. People are already protected in the workplace. I am opposed to continuing this.

Listen, I understand people have different opinions on this issue, and I respect those opinions. But as someone who has worked in the employment law area for all of my years in the statehouse and all of my years here, I see no basis or no need for this.

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Contrary to Boehner’s assertions, it is still legal in 29 states to fire employees based on their sexual orientation and in 33 states based on their gender identity. Neither class is protected in Boehner’s home state of Ohio. Though over three quarters of the country already believe that LGBT people are protected nationwide, only the passage of ENDA would actually make this true.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told ThinkProgress last week that if Boehner allowed a vote on ENDA, it would probably pass the House.