Post submitted by Karlene Rytkonen. Karlene is an HRC field organizer working in Alaska. She previously worked on the campaign to secure marriage equality in Washington State.
Supporters of equality gathered in Anchorage earlier this week to celebrate Senator Lisa Murkowski’s endorsement of marriage equality. Vickie Green and Theresa Huebler, the Alaska family highlighted by Senator Murkowski in her op-ed, joined the group to watch their senator announce why she chose to support marriage for all loving and committed Americans.
While this week’s news from the senator was very encouraging, there is still more work to do. HRC has organizers on the ground in Alaska working to build support for the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA will make it illegal to fire someone solely based on sexual orientation or gender identity across the country. Currently, you can be fired in 29 states for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual and in 33 for being transgender. Senator Murkowski sits on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which is expected to take up ENDA next month.
I will be working in Anchorage until the Senate HELP Committee takes up ENDA. I was a part of HRC’s efforts in Washington State on the successful marriage campaign last year. I am very enthusiastic to be continuing my work with HRC, this time focused on protecting LGBT Americans from employment discrimination. Now that Senator Murkowski has affirmed her position on marriage equality, we hope she continues her support for the LGBT community and takes a stand against workplace discrimination.