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Landmark Bill Introduced in Senate Today to Ban Workplace Discrimination Based on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
WASHINGTON - April 14 - A landmark bill was introduced in the Senate today that would, for the first time, make workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity illegal in most workplaces. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Susan Collins (R-ME). A companion bill, introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), was formally introduced last week in the House.
Gaps in existing state civil rights laws leave many LGBT people and their families vulnerable to employment discrimination based purely on who they are. Currently, it remains legal in 29 states to fire or refuse to hire someone for being lesbian, gay or bisexual, while transgender workers can be denied or refused jobs in 37 states. ENDA would create a federal protection that would make certain that all LGBT Americans can exercise their right to make a living free from discrimination.
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office:
“ENDA would bring an end to the devastating effect that workplace discrimination has on American families. The right to work free from baseless discrimination shouldn’t be denied to any American and should not hinge upon a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Working Americans should not be forced to deny and hide themselves or their families and loved ones in order to hold a job.
“With bills introduced with substantial and bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, Congress has no excuse not to pass ENDA this year.”
The ACLU’s video urging congressional support of ENDA can be found here: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/tell-congress-pass-enda
A copy of an ACLU report, Working in the Shadows: Ending Employment Discrimination for LGBT Americans, documenting widespread discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers is available at:www.aclu.org/lgbt/discrim/31836pub20070917.html