Today, we came one step closer to passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The House Education and Labor Committee held a full committee hearing on this bill, about the importance of protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees from workplace discrimination. We are grateful to the lawmakers who held this hearing and all who testified. This bill is now squarely before our nation’s lawmakers, and we must pressure them to pass it.
We have been here before. Since 1994, ENDA has been repeatedly introduced in the House and Senate, with each Congress failing to send it to the President. Workplace protections for LGBT people are urgently needed and long overdue. According to numerous surveys, 60 percent of likely voters in the United States support a federal employment non-discrimination law that protects people from discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. With our visible and vocal support, we have every reason to believe that ENDA is finally within reach.
For the past year, NCLR has been working on building support for this critically important piece of legislation. We play a leadership role in a national coalition of 400 state and local organizations committed to moving an inclusive ENDA—an ENDA to protect the entire LGBT community. NCLR continues to build the momentum through action alerts and coalition conference calls, pushing for grassroots action through in-district and town hall meetings, and many more efforts. With the House Education and Labor Committee hearing, ENDA is in the spotlight—and we must keep it that way.
Right now, Congress must hear from every one of us! Congress must feel the pressure and feel the urgency to act. We must pass ENDA in the House, then in the Senate!
We have public opinion in our favor. Many U.S. corporations already have inclusive workplace non-discrimination policies in place and support ENDA. And, importantly, President Obama has committed to signing this bill as part of his civil rights agenda. We must urge Congress to take speedy action to place ENDA on the President’s desk.
Workplace discrimination is a real problem that affects real people. LGBT employees work just as hard and contribute just as much as other workers, and should not have to fear losing their job because of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Congress must hear from you that ENDA is a priority, that you want it, and that you need it. If you haven’t contacted your Representative and Senators, please do it today. If you already have, please do it again. It is up to all who care about equality to pass this bill. ENDA’s time is right now.