News release from Freedom to Work:
FTW Letter to Harry Reid.6.12.12
Daring Anti-LGBT Senators to Filibuster Bi-Partisan Bill Supported by Super-Majorities of American Public
WASHINGTON, DC – This morning, Freedom to Work – a national organization working to ban workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans – sent an open letter penned by the group's president, Tico Almeida, to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) demanding he bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) directly to the floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote this summer.
Almeida's letter, which states, "LGBT Americans need to know whether our elected officials stand with us," comes on the same day that Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) convened a Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee hearing, “Equality at Work: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” in favor of the legislation. More information on the hearing is available on the Washington Blade website, here.
Almeida followed up on Reid's 2009 promise to pass ENDA by urging the Senator to schedule a vote this summer on the bi-partisan legislation introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Mark Kirk (D-Illinois). Almeida states in the letter that ENDA could easily pass out of the committee today by a strong bi-partisan margin through a successful mark-up, even as anti-LGBT Senators threaten to filibuster against the bill.
"We respectfully urge you to bring ENDA to a vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate this summer," stated Almeida, "so that LGBT Americans do not have to wait any longer to know which of their Senators support their freedom to work without harassment or discrimination on the job, and which Senators still find it acceptable for Americans to be unjustly fired simply because of whom they love or their gender identity. After decades of delay on this critically important legislation, LGBT Americans need to know whether our elected officials stand with us. We deserve a vote."
Almeida continued, "We also note that the Obama Administration has stated its position in favor of passing ENDA through the Senate even if passage through the House of Representatives remains unlikely at this time. … We agree with the Obama Administration on this point, and we believe the time is now right to build momentum for ENDA."
The Obama Administration expressed the value of passing ENDA in the Senate in an exchange between former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and reporter Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade last year, which can be viewed here.
Yesterday, Almeida was quoted in a McClatchy Newspapers piece on employment non-discrimination, available here.