This week marked a huge moment in the LGBTQ movement. Michael Sam, the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, and became the first openly gay active NFL player. There has been a chorus of support coming from the league and the country, welcoming him to the NFL.
But in Missouri they would have been perfectly within their legal rights to not hire Michael Sam based upon his sexual orientation. Missouri, just like 28 other states in the country, does not prohibit firing or denying employment to someone because of their sexuality. Rather than a joyous moment of celebration, this could have easily, and legally, gone the other way. Thousands of other LGBT folks in the Show Me State haven’t been as lucky as Michael Sam and that’s why we need the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Here in Illinois we are fighting to get it passed. This past weekend, the wonderful people of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockford came together after the service to send postcards and make calls to Representative Adam Kinzinger. The Congressman is a critical swing vote on this issue, and the people in his district are making their voices heard on ENDA. Over the coming weeks we’ll be meeting at other supportive congregations around the 16th District and letting Congress what we think about workplace discrimination.