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Monday, May 17, 2010

Coalition urges Congress to vote on ENDA in honor of first official Harvey Milk Day

A coalition of national, state and local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights groups are calling on Congress to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 (ENDA), S. 1584 before the end of May. This essential legislation would provide clear federal protection against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"We thank Speaker Pelosi for her leadership in calling on President Obama to immediately stop discharging military personnel under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' and now we need her strong voice for equality more than ever to ensure a Congressional vote on ENDA this month in honor of Harvey Milk and his first official state day of recognition.  It is imperative that Congress do for the country what Harvey did for San Francisco 32 years ago - pass legislation banning employment discrimination.

It is inexcusable that such protections don't already exist. Legislators once again have a chance to pass meaningful civil rights legislation that would end this injustice and help ensure fairness and equality for all Americans.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees have waited too long for this protection, and should no longer have to fear losing their jobs based on factors that are unrelated to job qualifications or work performance. It's past time for Congress to send ENDA to the President."

Coalition participants include:

  • Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • National Center for Transgender Equality
  • Equality Federation
  • Equality California
  • National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce
  • Courage Campaign
  • GetEQUAL
  • Transgender Law Center
  • San Francisco LGBT  Community Center
  • Pride at Work

Federal law currently provides basic legal protection against employment discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin or disability. It remains legal in 29 states to fire or refuse to hire someone simply because of his or her sexual orientation, and in 38 states it is legal to do so based solely on an individual's gender identity or expression. A solid majority of people in this country support job protections for LGBT workers. Since 1994, ENDA has been repeatedly introduced in the House and Senate, but each Congress has failed to send it to the President. President Obama has pressed Congress to pass the bill and promised to sign it.

In honor of Harvey Milk Day, community leaders are planning actions across the nation to celebrate Harvey's life and to push for a vote on ENDA in May. A rally to support Speaker Pelosi to bring ENDA to a vote will be held on Tuesday, May 18 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. outside of her San Francisco office at the San Francisco Federal Building (corner of 7th and Mission streets).

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