Senate Takes Up Key Non-Discrimination Bill
As we discussed last week, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is necessary to make it illegal once-and-for-all, nationwide to fire someone just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, a practice which, shockingly, is legal in a majority of states.
ENDA is much-needed, the right thing to do and is overwhelmingly popular among Democrats, independents, and Republicans alike.
In fact, majorities in every single state support ending workplace discrimination against LGBT people.
ENDA also enjoys the support of the business community, which has been pushing for its passage.
Thankfully, less than an hour ago, 61 senators also agreed that it’s time for equality at work.
(Sadly, 30 Republican senators apparently still think it’s perfectly fine to fire LGBT people just because of who they are, in the year 2013.)
The Senate will now debate amendments, largely from opponents of equality who hope to weaken or gut the bill, over the next few days. A vote on final passage could come as soon as Thursday.
Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner (R-OH) is doubling down on legalized bigotry by announcing his continuing opposition to ENDA, with senior aides say the bill is unlikely to even be voted on by the House if it passes the Senate.
Boehner’s refusal to even take up the bill is setting us for another intra-GOP feud between reasonable Republicans like Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) on one side and outside groups like Heritage Action on the other. Dent slammed GOP leadership today and called on them to hold a vote on ENDA. Meanwhile, Heritage Action announced it would “key vote” ENDA and attacked the bill based on numerous false claims.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s never been right that you could fire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, but unfortunately it’s been legal in too many states for far too long. The Senate took a big step forward today by taking up ENDA and we hope it will pass the bill later this week. Speaker Boehner seems unable to lead but he can get out of the way and allow a fair vote on ENDA in the House — a vote which many believe would result in the passage of ENDA after literally decades of failed attempts.
You can find a wide variety of ENDA resources from our Center for American Progress colleagues HERE.