Today, the United Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The final vote was 64-32. The Senate also rejected an amendment that would have broadened the religious exemptions already in the bill.
In recent days, more and more Senators from both parties spoke out in favor of the bill, including Senators who had not previously committed announced their support. Earlier this week, President Obama wrote an essay for The Huffington Post, urging lawmakers to pass the bill.
"Thank you to the Senate for providing leadership and passing ENDA in a bipartisan manner. It is encouraging to see Senators of both parties supporting protections for LGBT workers," said Wilson Cruz, GLAAD's National Spokesperson. "We now need the House to pass what the vast majority of Americans, businesses, religious leaders, and even the President is already calling for. LGBT workers cannot wait any longer. The time to pass a fully inclusive ENDA is now."
ENDA will go to the House, where Speaker John Boehner has already stated his opposition to the bill. Boehner is repeating over-used anti-LGBT talking points, stating that the bill will "increase frivolous litigation."
“Losing one's job is never frivolous, and to be fired because of one's sexual orientation or gender identity is particularly egregious,” Cruz added.
ENDA is supported by a vast majority of Americans. Over 70% of Americans support federal workplace protections for LGBT people. Additionally, a majority of Americans in every state in the country support employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
As of April 2013, 88% of Fortune 500 companies have implemented policies prohibiting discrimination against gay and lesbian employees in their workplaces, and 57% also protect transgender employees. Leaders in the business community see these policies as a key component of their financial success. Most recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook supports the passage of ENDA.
For more complete information, frequently asked questions, and potential spokespeople to speak about ENDA, visit www.glaad.org/enda.