Obama: ‘Congress Needs to Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act’

President Obama published in the Huffington Post this evening, urging Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Troops_obamaWrote Obama, in part:

…millions of LGBT Americans go to work every day fearing that, without any warning, they could lose their jobs — not because of anything they've done, but simply because of who they are.

It's offensive. It's wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense.

That's why Congress needs to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA, which would provide strong federal protections against discrimination, making it explicitly illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This bill has strong bipartisan support and the support of a vast majority of Americans. It ought to be the law of the land.

Americans ought to be judged by one thing only in their workplaces: their ability to get their jobs done. Does it make a difference if the firefighter who rescues you is gay — or the accountant who does your taxes, or the mechanic who fixes your car? If someone works hard every day, does everything he or she is asked, is responsible and trustworthy and a good colleague, that's all that should matter.

ENDA is set for a cloture vote by the full Senate late in the afternoon on Monday (Faiz Shakir, a Reid spokesperson, estimated the cloture vote on ENDA will take place around 5:45) and a final vote would be likely on Wednesday.

All Senate Democrats and four Republicans have signaled support for the measure. Reid expressed confidence last week that the votes are there.


  1. Mike Ryan says

    Amazing isn’t it that as a gay person who has served in your Federal position for nearly 30 years that you get a new boss, a homophobic jerk out of Louisiana, and he refuses to work with you because you are openly gay. In fact, he hates you so much because of your sexual orientation that he has you served with termination papers citing “homosexual” as the reason for your firing. You are marched out of your Federal agency by six Federal Protective police officers all in front of your co-workers who stand and say nothing other then a feeble “good-bye”. You turn to the Merit Systems Protection Board, the only Federal avenue available to you, and ask for a stay of the termination but they decline. It takes you over a year before you can get to trial because the agency repeatedly stalls and is granted continuances until you exceed your period for retirement. Of course you believe your case will be overturned because you have 18 witnesses who will testify in your defense yet the Agency has them excluded from testifying because they are Federal employees and fear retaliation. You end up alone, with your lone attorney who has little to no knowledge of Federal employment laws while the Agency arrives with 8 full time lawyers.

    After five long days of testimony the agency denies ever discriminating against you because of your sexual orientation, after all you’ve spent 28 years in the agency and if they were going to discriminate against you they would have done so long ago. End result: the judge agrees with the agency and rules that you worked at the whim of the Agency and as an open homosexual you had not Federal protections. The termination is upheld and you now sit, at 64 with a legal bill that will destroy any retirement funds you had saved (along with 40% that goes to the Feds for early withdrawal).

    So after 28 years you find yourself unable to obtain another job. Private industry isn’t at all interested in a former Federal employee much less an elderly 64 year old man. You find yourself destitute, file for food stamps only to have those stamps cut by nearly 36% resulting in just $13 a month. You are forced to stand in lines for charity food, you have no medical insurance and you can barely pay your monthly rent and utilities.

    Had ENDA been in place before this happened to my friend he would be retired collecting a nearly $4,000 a month pension, be fully covered medically and could enjoy the rest years of his life.

    This is all true. It happened to my 64 year old neighbor.

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