For the first time ever, a Senate committee today approved a transgender-inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would protect American workers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In 29 states, there are no protections for lesbian, gay or bisexual employees; in 33 states, there are no protections for transgender workers.
"The lack of national workplace protections causes countless LGBT Americans to hide who they are out of fear of losing their job and livelihood," said GLAAD Spokesperson Wilson Cruz. "Today's bipartisan move to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to the Senate floor is an encouraging step forward and Congress should now move swiftly to protect every American worker — no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity."
The bill, which was approved with bipartisan support, will now face a vote in the Senate before advancing to the House.
The White House Office of the Press Secretary issued the following statement in response to today's move:
The President welcomes the bipartisan approval of S. 815, The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of 2013, by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today. He thanks Committee Chairman Harkin, Senator Merkley, and Senator Kirk for their leadership on this important issue. The President has long supported an inclusive ENDA, which would enshrine into law strong, lasting and comprehensive protections against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. We look forward to the full Senate’s consideration of ENDA, and continue to urge the House to move forward on this bill that upholds America’s core values of fairness and equality.