Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), said on Wednesday that he'll lead efforts in introducing a comprehensive LGBT civil rights bill in the next session of Congress, MetroWeekly reports:
During remarks at the Center for American Progress, the Oregon Democrat said he will spearhead efforts to pass federal legislation that would protect LGBT people in nearly every aspect of American life, including employment, housing, public accommodations, housing and credit.
Merkley said that while the Senate’s passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in November of last year by a 64-32 vote after the bill failed by one vote in 1996 was a “tremendous victory,” if discrimination is wrong in employment, it also must be wrong in areas such as housing, public accommodations and financial transactions.
LGBT rights advocates have been pushing for such a bill.
HRC President Chad Griffin spoke about the need for it in a statement in July responding to criticism that the group was standing by an ENDA with a religious exemption. Said Griffin:
"But regardless of whether or not ENDA passes in this session of Congress, it is time for the LGBT movement to throw its weight behind a fully comprehensive LGBT civil rights bill. A bill that, at long last, would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all core civil rights categories — including housing, public accommodations, credit, education and, if ENDA fails to pass, in employment. This is a visionary idea that Congresswoman Bella Abzug brought to Congress in 1974. Its time has come."