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Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., reintroduces ENDA, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., today reintroduced the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Here are a few news releases from the larger gay rights groups:

Human Rights Campaign:

Inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act Introduced in U.S. House

Bill to Ban Job Discrimination Part of Economic Empowerment Agenda for LGBT Community

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, hailed today’s bipartisan reintroduction of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would create federal protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  The bill is a critical piece of an economic empowerment agenda for the LGBT community, as detailed in a recent memo by HRC: www.hrc.org/documents/EconomicEmpowerment.pdf.

“All Americans worry about their economic future, but LGBT Americans’ anxieties are exacerbated when they can be fired for no other reason than their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “Passing ENDA is a key element of making sure all Americans can get back to work and get our country moving again.”

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.  Currently such protections exist in 21 states and DC for sexual orientation and 12 states and DC for gender identity.

“ENDA reflects our shared value that what matters in the workplace is how you do your job, not who you are,” said Solmonese.  “While debate remains about how to best solve our country’s economic woes, varied interests from large corporations to organized labor agree that ENDA is critical to our economy.”

Among Fortune 500 companies, 87 percent have sexual orientation non-discrimination policies and 46 percent have gender identity non-discrimination policies.  Additionally, more than 85 companies have joined the Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness, a group of leading U.S. employers that support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

HRC’s new memo, “Federal LGBT Legislation: An Economic Empowerment Agenda,” details a number of legislative proposals to put LGBT Americans on the same footing as everyone else.  In addition to ENDA, a number of bills aim to extend benefits to families currently disadvantaged because their relationships are not recognized.  These include the Respect for Marriage Act, the Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act, the Uniting American Families Act, the Equal Access to COBRA Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act.  Additionally, passing legislation to ensure that schools are safe for all students will help prepare them to contribute to our economy.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Lambda Legal:

Lambda Legal Applauds Introduction of the Employment Non-discrimination Act in Congress

"Fairness and equal opportunity in employment are fundamental American principles and they should apply to all Americans."

(Washington, D.C., March 30, 2011) - Today after Rep. Barney Frank introduced the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Executive Director, Kevin Cathcart:

"With ENDA now re-introduced, it is time for Congress to make good on its promise to focus on the top priority of all Americans - good jobs and economic security.  Especially in this economy, everyone can understand the concerns of LGBT Americans who face discrimination in employment without a clear federal law that prohibits it. It is long past time to address this inequality and pass a law the provides fairness for workers without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. We thank Representative Barney Frank for introducing the bill.

"Typically, workplace discrimination is the number one complaint among people seeking assistance from our Legal Help Desk. Workplace equality has been a top priority for all of Lambda Legal's 38 year history.

"Despite the fact that the majority of Americans favor workplace protections for LGBT people, only 20 states plus the District of Columbia specifically ban workplace discrimination in the private sector based on sexual orientation and only 13 states plus D.C. expressly ban discrimination based on gender identity. ENDA would ensure that in most workplaces a person's qualifications and job performance, rather than sexual orientation or gender identity, will be the factors that determine success on the job. Fairness and equal opportunity in employment are fundamental American principles and they should apply to all Americans.

"ENDA would provide a powerful tool for Lambda Legal to do what it does best: work through the courts to ensure equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people across the country. We call on Congress to enact ENDA and end discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

Employment Non-Discrimination Act is reintroduced in U.S. House

WASHINGTON, March 30 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds today’s U.S. House reintroduction of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The measure was reintroduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). National Gay and Lesbian Task Force staff were on hand for today’s press conference announcing ENDA’s reintroduction. The Task Force was the first national organization to advocate for federal nondiscrimination protections when it worked with then-U.S. Reps. Bella Abzug and Ed Koch to introduce legislation in 1974. It has played a leading role in ensuring ENDA is explicitly inclusive of transgender people.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality recently released Injustice at Every Turn, which reveals the depth of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people. The study is the first large-scale national study of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and paints a more complete picture than any prior research to date. According to Injustice at Every Turn, respondents were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the population as a whole. Half of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment in the workplace, and one in four reported being fired because of their gender identity or expression.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“ENDA reflects the core U.S. values of fairness and ensuring everyone is allowed to participate on a level playing field in the workplace. People recognize that our nation as a whole benefits when everyone is allowed to contribute their talents and skills, free from discrimination, which is all ENDA seeks to do. An overwhelming majority of Americans has long supported protecting their friends, family and neighbors from such discrimination. They know it's wrong to deprive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of the ability to earn a livelihood and provide for their families simply because of who they are.

“ENDA’s passage is long overdue. Our community has provided numbers and personal stories, and we have endured as we’ve watched LGBT workers lose their foothold in a struggling economy — not because of downsizing, or poor performance or shuttered businesses — but because of prejudice and because there are no institutional consequences to arbitrary and unethical behavior by individuals or businesses who would exclude LGBT people from the basic tenets of our democracy.
“We thank Rep. Barney Frank for reintroducing this bill and all the representatives who support this critical legislation. We are also pleased that President Obama has expressed support for ENDA and call upon the administration to play a role in assisting with its passage.”

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit www.theTaskForce.org and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights:

ENDA Reintroduced to Protect LGBT Workforce
3.30.11

Today, U.S. Representative Barney Frank, D-Mass., announced that he will reintroduce the fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit most employers across the country from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers. The bill, known as ENDA, would make it illegal under federal law for employers with at least 15 employees to discriminate against, harass, or fire anyone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Surveys show that Americans overwhelmingly support workplace protections for LGBT people, and many states have enacted LGBT workplace non-discrimination laws. But Congress has lagged behind. As a result, employees and job applicants in more than half the country have no protection against discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Frank, the longest-serving openly gay member of Congress, has pledged to work with other bill sponsors and the LGBT community and allies to build congressional support for the bill.

President Obama has voiced strong support for ENDA and urged Congress to pass it.

A Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

"For far too long, LGBT people have had to endure the stress and uncertainty of knowing they can be fired at any time simply because of who they are. Enough is enough, and it’s time that the lawmakers we voted into office pass the fully inclusive ENDA and put an end to this appalling injustice. We have to ensure that every member of Congress hears from LGBT people every day about the stress and indignity of not having basic workplace protections. We can’t let a single one of these elected officials off the hook. They have a duty to represent all Americans, and that includes LGBT people."

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