Nevada state Assemblyman Cresent Hardy (R), who is running for freshman Rep. Steven Horsford’s (D) congressional seat, is against a federal bill to ban LGBT discrimination and harassment in the workplace because it reminds him of segregation laws.
Hardy told the Las Vegas Sun that he would be against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which makes discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity illegal.
“When we create classes, we create that same separation that we’re trying to unfold somehow,” he said. “By continuing to create these laws that are what I call segregation laws, it puts one class of a person over another. We are creating classes of people through these laws.”
But ENDA does not confer any special treatment to LGBT people. Instead it extends already-existing fair-employment protections — against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability — to sexual orientation and gender identity. Non-discrimination laws serve to protect groups by preventing segregation, not cause it, and ENDA specifically includes no quotas or preferential treatment for any LGBT person. Without it, there is no federal law that prevents an employee from being fired simply because they might be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
In 2011, the Nevada legislature passed a bill like ENDA, prohibiting workplace discrimination against “gender identity or expression.” Hardy voted against the measure in the Assembly, but it was eventually signed into law by Republican Governor Brian Sandoval.
The Senate passed ENDA last fall, and at the time Senator John McCain (R-AZ) struck the same tone as Hardy, comparing ENDA to “reverse discrimination” and desegregation busing. Even if Hardy were elected to the House, it isn’t expected to consider ENDA anytime soon. Speaker John Boehner has insisted there is “no way” ENDA will be brought to a vote.
(HT: Mother Jones)