Merkley: ENDA Executive Order Empowers Millions to Go to Work Free of Discrimination

WASHINGTON – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley – the lead Senate sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the leading congressional advocate for an executive order to bar federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT Americans in the workplace – issued the following statement after the White House announced its plan to issue the executive order:

“With this announcement, the arc of history bends a little further toward justice. Discrimination simply has no place in American workplaces. This executive order will allow millions more Americans to go to work empowered with the right to do their jobs free of harassment or discrimination.

“Most Americans don’t know that it’s still legal in many states to fire someone for their sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s because it not only defies common sense, it goes wholly against who we are as a nation. No more excuses. It’s way past time for Speaker Boehner to allow ENDA to have a vote in the House. No one should be fired because of who they are or whom they love.”

Merkley has been privately and publicly urging the White House to enact the executive order banning discrimination by federal contractors for several years.  Earlier this year, Merkley led over 200 of his congressional colleagues – including more than half the Senate – in calling on President Obama to issue an executive order that would ban anti-LGBT workplace discrimination among federal contractors.

He also led the bipartisan push to pass ENDA in the Senate last December, resulting in an historic 64-32 vote to pass the bill in the Senate for the first time.