The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has advanced further in the Senate than it ever has before. It was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on July 10, 2013, by a bipartisan vote of 15-7. Now that congress is back in session, the pressure is back on to provide employment non-discrimination legislation.
In recent weeks, we have seen much discussion of ENDA. Freedom to Work and Towleroad hosted the ENDA Situation Room, which included GLAAD Acting President Dave Montez. People of faith were encouraged to call their congressional members, urging them to provide employment protections for all workers, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Alongside of ENDA have been additional protections for LGBT workers. On Wednesday, ThinkProgress reported that the Department of Labor announced that employers should recognize the legally performed marriages of same-sex couples when considering retirement plans, regardless of what state the couple lived in. This means that legally married couples in all 50 states should be recognized by retirement plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). These protections to not apply to domestic partnerships or civil unions.
Additionally, the Washington Blade reports that a bill will soon be introduced that would provide domestic partner benefits for federal workers who do not have access to marriage in the state where they live and work. Rep. Mark Pocan and Sen. Tammy Baldwin introduced the bill. Both are from Wisconsin, a state that has domestic partnerships, but also has a constitutional amendment against marriage equality.
The news about employment protections for LGBT workers will continue to heat up. GLAAD is providing media resources on employment non-discrimination, specifically on ENDA at www.glaad.org/enda.
GLAAD is promoting everyday LGBT people who suffer under a lack of employment protections. If you have been harassed or fired for your sexual orientation or gender identity, we want to hear from you. Simply submit your story.