The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees and job applicants in hiring, firing, promoting and compensation based on their sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, was introduced in the Senate today. The legislation was introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators, including Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), with more than 30 additional cosponsors.
Following ENDA's bipartisan introduction, People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan released this statement:
"The message that a 'yes' vote on ENDA sends is that discrimination against any American runs contrary to the American way and will not be tolerated. We celebrate today's bipartisan introduction of the all-inclusive ENDA bill. This is a vital step forward on the long road ahead of us toward full equal rights and protections for LGBT Americans.
"But we've come too close, too often. There's no doubt that the radical right, always intent on waging dishonest and inflammatory campaigns against any legal recognition or protections for LGBT Americans, will be front and center attacking this commonsense legislation. Yet, this ought to be a no-brainer that all members of Congress can get behind. After all, 89 percent of Americans already have. Americans overwhelmingly reject discrimination and agree gays and lesbians should have equal job opportunities, according to a Gallup poll. There has been tremendous support for this legislation from a diverse group including hundreds of religious, civil liberties and civil rights groups, and Fortune 500 companies. Why? Because passing ENDA is the fair, just, and right thing to do.
"We urge all proponents of equality in the Senate to reject injustice in the workplace and move forward on this legislation swiftly. Stand up against discrimination to our fellow Americans, and urge your colleagues to do the same. Americans shouldn't have to wait any longer for such a fundamental protection."
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