Employment Non-Discrimination Act
WASHINGTON — The Senate moved forward Monday on a bill to prohibit workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians in a dramatic 61-30 vote. But opposition from the House speaker means the bill may not get to President Obama’s desk.
The Senate vote was not without suspense. With Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., at a funeral, Democrats needed last-minute support from two Republicans to get the 60 votes necessary to prevent a filibuster. Democratic leaders went into the Republican cloakroom to plead with Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. After half an hour of voting, both voted yes.
The vote clears the way for the Senate to consider the issue for the first time since 1996, when it failed in the Senate by a single vote.
The last House effort to pass the bill succeeded,235 to 184, in a Democratic-controlled Congress in 2007. But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, reaffirmed his long-standing opposition to the bill Monday, making it unlikely the House will schedule a vote. “The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small-business jobs,” Boehner press secretary Michael Steel said.
Fox News anchor Bret Baier suggested to his viewers on Wednesday that a good reason to oppose a law to prevent discrimination against LGBT people was that “beliefs” like sexual orientation could “conflict with a company’s goals.”
During a segment on Fox News’ Special Report, Baier noted that Democrats were pushing to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and that meant “religious freedom” would “take a backseat to another kind of freedom.”
Reporter Shannon Bream pointed out that many religious institutions opposed the bill because they could be forced to “hire a transgender teacher.”
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would criminalize workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, is set to get a vote in the Senate sometime before Thanksgiving, but while the support of 57 Democrats (and Independent Bernie Sanders) seems likely, it still falls short of a filibuster-proof 60 votes.
In an effort to push that number over the top, advocates and supporters of the bill have focused on a handful of Republican senators, including Arizona’s John McCain. But McCain has shown some resistance to supporting the bill, telling the Huffington Post that he worries it might inspire “reverse discrimination.”
From Main Street to Wall Street, this country’s belief in the American Dream remains strong, even unshakable during the tough economic times of the last few years. This is what is so uniquely great about the United States – our shared commitment to turning that dream into reality.
But for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, the uphill climb to economic security has pitfalls along the way. Currently, there are no state laws protecting LGBT employees from workplace discrimination in a majority of states — a fact that most Americans would be shocked to learn. Hardworking and qualified LGBT employees, like all employees, need to provide for themselves and their families, and must have the same opportunity to be judged on job performance and merit — nothing more, nothing less.
Right now, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – or ENDA — would help change that. ENDA simply adds sexual orientation and gender identity to existing employment protections — like those that already exist for race, religion, gender and disability.
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2012 — When people think about “the gay agenda” these days, the first issue that comes to mind is marriage. Some will also mention bullying, or workplace discrimination, or the unfair additional taxes paid by domestic partners, but as seen from the recent media firestorm over the president’s announcement, marriage is at the top of the list.
While America debates the freedom of same-sex couples to marry, around the globe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are fighting for their lives – and this week, there are reports from Iran of four young men executed for the crime of “homosexual sodomy.”
The photographs of these gay men hanging in a town square are a sobering reminder of the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. Iran is one of five nations where homosexuality is punishable by death; the others are Mauritania, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
Gay or straight, liberal or conservative, such deaths fly in the face of our shared values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As Vice President Dick Cheney said, “freedom means freedom for everyone” – no matter where, or what “way,” you were born…..
…..When President Bush rolled out the Freedom Collection this week, he stated, “The tactics of promoting freedom will vary, case by case. But America’s message should ring clear and strong: We stand for freedom and for the institutions and habits that make freedom work for everyone.” ….