President Obama thanks the Senate for passing ENDA, puts pressure on the House

The White House issued a statement by President Obama, moments after the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed the US Senate on a strong bipartisan basis. The President had earlier written about his support of ENDA in a Huffington Post article, calling on the bill's passage.

For more than two centuries, the story of our nation has been the story of more citizens realizing the rights and freedoms that are our birthright as Americans.  Today, a bipartisan majority in the Senate took another important step in this journey by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would help end the injustice of our fellow Americans being denied a job or fired just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.  Just as no one in the United States can lose their job simply because of their race, gender, religion or a disability, no one should ever lose their job simply because of who they are or who they love.    

Today’s victory is a tribute to all those who fought for this progress ever since a similar bill was introduced after the Stonewall riots more than three decades ago.  In particular, I thank Majority Leader Reid, Chairman Harkin, Senators Merkley and Collins for their leadership, and Senator Kirk for speaking so eloquently in support of this legislation.  Now it’s up to the House of Representatives.  This bill has the overwhelming support of the American people, including a majority of Republican voters, as well as many corporations, small businesses and faith communities.  They recognize that our country will be more just and more prosperous when we harness the God-given talents of every individual.

One party in one house of Congress should not stand in the way of millions of Americans who want to go to work each day and simply be judged by the job they do.  Now is the time to end this kind of discrimination in the workplace, not enable it.  I urge the House Republican leadership to bring this bill to the floor for a vote and send it to my desk so I can sign it into law.  On that day, our nation will take another historic step toward fulfilling the founding ideals that define us as Americans.

President Obama is not the only figure supporting the passage of ENDA. Prop 8 attorney Ted Olson and Apple CEO Tim Cook have encouraged its passage. ENDA is also 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. 

"Today, the President joins millions of Americans celebrating ENDA's successful passage through the Senate," said Wilson Cruz, GLAAD's National Spokesperson. "He also joins us in calling on the House pass a law that is already supported by the vast majority of Americans, no matter their background or political affiliation. It's time for the House to made ENDA the law of the land."

For more complete information, frequently asked questions, and potential spokespeople to speak about ENDA, visit www.glaad.org/enda

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