Washington, D.C. — Today the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, a bill that would protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Democrats, all of whom supported the bill, were joined by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Mark Kirk (R-IL). Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
I was there in 1994 as ENDA was first drafted and introduced in the Senate by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and I was there on that September day in 1996 when ENDA had its only Senate vote—a failed 49-50 vote. It’s been nearly two decades since then, when ENDA first sought to make it the law of the land that gay Americans would have the same workplace protections as everyone else in America. ENDA has grown stronger by including protections for hardworking transgender Americans. But it’s hard to believe that we are still fighting to end discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace, where today in a majority of states you can still fire someone for no reason other than their sexual orientation or gender identity. Today’s vote, with Republicans joining Democrats, gives us hope that federal law will finally provide equal protection for all hardworking Americans.
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