Tune into Towleroad this afternoon for the first "ENDA Situation Room" in a series. Organized by Freedom to Work, the will bring together, for the first time, a bipartisan group to publicly discuss the problem of workplace discrimination and the Congressional strategy for the path towards victory.
The panel will feature GLAAD's Acting President, Dave Montez, as well as Tico Almeida, President of Freedom to Work; Evan Wolfson, President of Freedom to Marry; Brad Sears, Executive Director of the Williams Institute at UCLA Law; Gregory T. Angelo, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans; Melissa Sklarz, President of Stonewall Democrats of NYC. The panel will be moderated by Professor Ari Ezra Waldman of New York Law School, and legal editor for Towleroad.
ENDA, or the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, has been considered in congress for several years without passage. This year, the bill has advanced further than ever before. Currently there are protections in place on the basis of race, skin color, religion, sex, and national origin. The ENDA bill introduced in congress would extend this law to include sexual orientation and gender identity, making it illegal to refuse to hire or promote, fire, or harass an employee based on these qualities. The act would allow employees to be honest about themselves while at work, which would lead to increased job productivity and satisfaction.
ENDA was introduced in the 113th Congress in the House by Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and in the Senate by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) as well as Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) on April 25, 2013. ENDA was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on July 10, 2013, by a bipartisan vote of 15-7. The AFL-CIO, nation’s largest federation of labor unions, has pledged to redouble its efforts to pass ENDA.
"People just don't know the reality; that in far too many states Americans can - and are - being fired for who they are. Whether straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, we all deserve workplace security. The ENDA Situation Room highlights the importance of sharing the stories of those who have been harassed or fired," said Dave Montez, Acting President of GLAAD. "We need to proactively reach out to local, national and Spanish-language media and start sharing these stories broadly. Only then will the need for ENDA be understood."
The ENDA Situation Room will be webcast on Towleroad from 2:00-4:00. Viewers can tweet questions they would like answered at the forum to @freedomtowork. For more information, frequently asked questions, and media resources about the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, visit www.glaad.org/enda.