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SIECUS Applauds the Introduction of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Bill Would End Unfair Employment Practices that Discriminate Against LGBT Individuals

New York, NY – Today, Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA), Deborah Pryce (R-OH),
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Christopher Shays (R-CT), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill would extend fair employment practices under federal law to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender  (LGBT) individuals.

“ENDA represents a significant move forward in extending basic human rights to LGBTQ Americans and further advances the great American promise of equality for all people,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). 

Current federal employment law provides basic legal protection against work-related discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, or disability.  There is no federal protection, however, against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and few states provide protection against these types of discrimination. In fact, it is legal to fire employees based solely on their sexual orientation in 33 states, and it is legal to do so based on gender identity in 42 states.

“It is unconscionable that in this day and age, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community have to live in fear of losing their job for reasons that have nothing to do with their ability, dedication, or performance,” Smith said.  “It is time for Congress to stand up for the rights of all Americans and pass this important bill.”  

Like other civil rights laws, ENDA is based on the premise that all workers should be judged solely on merit.  ENDA’s procedures and remedies are based on those of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The bill prohibits preferential treatment and quotas, and exempts small businesses, religious organizations, and the military.