Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A New Beginning for ENDA

By Joel Wendland

4-09-07, 8:41 am

Civil rights and labor activists will be pushing the current Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). In line with the opinion of the vast majority of Americans (as many as 85 percent in recent surveys), ENDA would outlaw discriminatory hiring and firing practices against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

While federal law protects working people from firing or penalization based on race, religion, national origin, gender or physical ability, no federal law exists to protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Earlier this year, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc. (NGLTF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) launched a campaign to compile the stories of LGBT working people who have faced discrimination. Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said, "Putting a human face on this injustice has made all the difference in passing nondiscrimination legislation at the state and local level and will be critical in putting ENDA over the top this year."

In just a little over a month, the project had already collected over 300 responses from LGBT people and their families about being fired, harassed, or refused employment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, says Deborah Vagins of the Policy Council for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the ACLU.

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