Pressure builds as 200+ lawmakers call on Obama to make ENDA a reality

More than 200 Democrats in congress have expressed interest in President Obama signing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) into law via executive order.  The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, religion, sex, and national origin. ENDA 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.

Earlier this week, 47 senators and 148 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter demonstrating their interest in an executive order, and addressed it to Obama. Should he follow this course of action, the would-be law will only protect government contractors. The Washington Blade, Gay Star News, and Queerty reported on the story.

According to an update from The Huffington Post:

It turns out there's even more support among Democrats for executive action than the letter suggests. Twenty-six lawmakers who didn't sign the letter said Thursday that they agree it’s time for Obama to act. Many said they either didn’t know about the letter earlier, or missed the deadline to sign. Based on HuffPost’s tally, there are now 52 senators and 170 voting members of the House Democratic caucus calling on Obama to take action, leaving three senators and 29 House members not on board.

The letter states:

An executive order covering LGBT employees would be in line with a bipartisan, decades-long commitment to eradicating taxpayer-funded discrimination in the workplace. In 1941, President Roosevelt prohibited discrimination in defense contracts on the bases of race, creed, color, or national origin. In subsequent executive orders, Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson expanded these protections to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to discriminate. . . Finally, time is of the essence. Even with an executive order in place, full implementation of these protections will require regulations to be developed and finalized, a process that will take many months, if not longer, to fully put in place.

The Huffington Post has a full list of signatories here.

Thus far, ENDA in its current form was passed in the Senate but has stalled in the House.

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