Obama V. Romney on ENDA
November 2, 2012 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media
Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have spoken extensively about job creation for Americans. However, on the other side of the coin- and far less talked about this election – is the stark reality of employment discrimination LGBT Americans face. In 29 states, it is legal for someone to be fired simply for their sexual orientation, and to be fired in 34 states for their general identity.
The Employment Nondiscrimination Act would protect LGBT Americans, and the two candidates could not be farther apart on supporting this critical bill. President Obama supports it and Governor Romney opposes it. As you may know, this legislation would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote employees based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It reinforces the principle that employment decisions should be based upon a person’s qualifications and job performance.
Across the board, the majority of Americans believe employment decisions should be based on a person’s qualifications and work ethic. And it goes inherently against our American values to fire someone based solely upon who they are. Nearly 90 percent of Americans believe that gays and lesbians should have equal rights in job opportunities. That is why a majority of Americans believe the federal government should act to end workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers.
Most of America’s smartest business minds understand that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity has nothing to do with their job performance. That is why a majority of America’s largest employers have already implemented this policy. Unfortunately, Congressional action is needed because there are still too many jobs where Americans can be fired simply for being who they are.
Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on his position. In 1994, when he believed he needed the support of the LGBT community in order to win election – he promised to support a federal employment non-discrimination act. In 2012 Romney now believes LGBT people do not need federal workplace protections at all. He claims that protecting LGBT Americans from discrimination in the workplace would be an “undue buden” on employers.
Governor Romney could not be more wrong. In fact, America’s corporate leaders support ENDA’s fair-minded approach. Eighty-six percent of Fortune 500 companies have included sexual orientation protections in their workplace policies and more than fifty percent of them also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. Corporate America is leading the way in workplace fairness. Over the last four years, President Obama has led the way on significant advancements in equality for the LGBT community. Romney and his anti-LGBT track record would mean a devastating leap backward.
This Tuesday, help elect fair-minded leaders and vote for equality. You know what’s at stake this Election Day. Get the facts at www.hrc.org/romney.
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