The importance of workers being allowed to find employment and rise and fall by their own merits at their jobs cannot be overstated. One Congressional bill seeks to make this a reality for innumerable Americans around the country. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), introduced by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), is a bipartisan piece of legislation aimed at making discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals illegal.
Around the country, hard-working Americans of differing sexual orientation and gender identity are being discriminated against without recourse in the law. While some state laws and constitutions protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, it is still currently legal in 29 states to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and legal in 38 states to discriminate on the basis of gender identity. ENDA would extend similar statutory protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals that Title VII currently extends to workers on account of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, and national origin.
Commentators have noted that the enforcement of local and state antidiscrimination measures has proven to be ineffective and insufficient to adequately protect these individuals from invidious discrimination in the workplace. Studies such this one by William B. Rubenstein suggest that workers are being discriminated against in the workplace at a rate roughly equal to discrimination based on race and gender.
It is clear that the protections of ENDA are necessary to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers are allowed to obtain employment and to have a workplace free from employer discrimination. We encourage you to contact your representatives in Congress and voice your support for ENDA to secure the same rights in the workplace for alternative sexualities and gender identities as are present for heterosexual workers! Click here for assistance in finding your representative!