President Obama's announced support for marriage equality has lit some fires in Congress; bad ones in the House, but encouraging ones in the Senate.
Sen. Tom Harkin, Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, And Pensions, has announced that he will hold hearings on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation which would ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all but the smallest companies. Greg Sargent reports that a bipartisan group of senators, Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Susan Collins (R-ME), requested hearings in committees with jurisdiction.
Harkin stepped up, releasing this statement:
“Every American deserves an equal opportunity to earn a good living, judged by their talent, ability and qualifications free from discrimination. Workplace discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity is reprehensible and has no place in our nation. This upcoming HELP Committee hearing will provide an excellent opportunity to build on the Committee’s previous work and help advance our shared goal of equal rights for all Americans. I am hopeful that working together, we will reach a point where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons enjoy the same rights and protections, and full equality, as all our fellow Americans.”It's legal to to fire someone solely because they’re lesbian, gay, or bisexual in 29 states. In 35 states, employers can fire someone solely on the basis of gender identity or expression. Protecting a person's livelihood is easily as basic as recognizing who they love. It's time for ENDA.