If signed, ENDA would protect employees from being fired, harassed, or refused hiring or promotion because of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill, co-sponsored 193 House Democrats and six Republicans, was approved in the Senate but was blocked from voting in the House. Now, many are urging President Obama to issue an executive order and sign the bill into law.
Billionaire and Republican donor Paul Singer told USA Today, "America is a place where the freedom to be who you are shouldn't be a barrier to your ability to get a job and provide for your family. In the workplace, employees should be judged on their merit and hard work and not on aspects that are irrelevant to their performance."
With financial backing from wealthy members and prominent non-profit organizations, Americans for Workplace Opportunities are aiming its campaign efforts at 48 House Republicans who would be most likely to support ENDA.
"The reason why the clock is speeding up so quickly on these issues," said Republican advocate for LGBT equality Jeff Cook-McCormac to USA Today, "is, in our opinion, because we're pursuing these objectives in an authentically bipartisan way."
The group is led by a steering committee comprised of the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Unity Fund, Communications Workers of America, the Human Rights Campaign, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Log Cabin Republicans, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and the Service Employees International Union.
People on both sides of the aisle are learning that equality is fundamentally important. Today, 61% of Republicans under the age of 30 support marriage equality.