Both the House and the Senate are expected to reintroduce The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) this Thursday. In the House, ENDA will be introduced by Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), an openly gay member of the House. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) will be introducing the Senate version of ENDA. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would ban discrimination by employers based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
While the number of co-sponsors in the House is yet to be determined, the Senate version has five original sponsors: Senator Merkley, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME); and Tom Harkin (D-IA), the Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
ENDA legislation has been introduced in every Congressional session since 1994 except one. According to the Center for American Progress, only 21 states and the District of Columbia prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and only 16 and the District prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
“The bottom line is no worker in America should be fired or denied a job based on who they are. Discrimination is wrong. Period. And I think the Senate is ready to take that stand,” said Senator Merkley (D).
Media Resources: Center for American Progress 4/24/2013; Metro Weekly 4/23/13; Washington Blade 4/23/13