Senators Call for Hearing on LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill

Senators Call for Hearing on LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill

Bipartisan group: legislation “embodies the American ideal of fairness”

Washington, DC- United States Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Robert Casey (D-PA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) called on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee leadership to hold a hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). In a letter to  Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-WY),  the Senators said employment discrimination has profound effects on the wages, job opportunities, productivity and health of LGBT workers. 

“As strong supporters of this legislation, we urge you to schedule a time for Committee members to consider this proposed legislation,” the Senators said. “ENDA embodies the American ideal of fairness: employees should be judged on their skills and abilities in the workplace, and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity.” 

Last session, the Senate HELP Committee held the first ever hearing on a fully inclusive ENDA.  President Obama has recently voiced support for ENDA legislation.

The full text of the letter is below.

May 9, 2012

The Honorable Tom Harkin                                                          The Honorable Michael B. Enzi

Chairman                                                                                             Ranking Member

U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor                      U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor

and Pensions Committee                                                             and Pensions Committee

428 Dirksen Senate Office Building                                           428 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510                                                   Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Enzi:

 We respectfully request that the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hold a legislative hearing to examine employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans to take testimony and consider acting on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 811).

As you know, employment discrimination has profound effects on the wages, job opportunities, productivity, and health of LGBT workers. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) takes a balanced approach to ending workplace discrimination against the LGBT community. Specifically, ENDA would prohibit most workplaces in the United States, with exemptions for religious institutions, private membership clubs and certain small businesses, from discriminating against potential and existing employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As strong supporters of this legislation, we urge you to schedule a time for Committee members to consider this proposed legislation. 

ENDA embodies the American ideal of fairness: employees should be judged on their skills and abilities in the workplace, and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity. While some states prohibit public and private employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, recent studies have found evidence of continued widespread employment discrimination against LGBT people. Sadly, it is still legal for businesses in many states to fire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

We appreciate your past support for discussing this critical issue for millions of American workers, and we respectfully ask that you ensure an opportunity during this Congress for the full Committee to consider testimony on this bill.   

 

Sincerely,

 

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