Press Room

June 12, 2012

Category: Federal Advocacy, Laws and Legislation

HRC Applauds Senate Committee for Taking up Critical LGBT Workplace Protections

Senate HELP Committee Hearing Sheds Light on Employment Discrimination

WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign – the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization – applauded the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for holding a hearing on a critical piece of workplace fairness legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

“The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is critical so that Americans have a fair shake in the workplace today and so that no young person must choose between being who they are and striving for their strongest aspirations for the future,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “ENDA must be passed because, for too many LGBT people in this country, that dream remains out of reach.”

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.  Currently such protections exist in only 21 states and DC for sexual orientation and 16 states and DC for gender identity.

This morning’s hearing features testimony from M. V. Lee Badgett , Research Director of the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA and Director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; Kylar Broadus, Founder, Trans People of Color Coalition; Samuel Bagenstos , Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School; Ken Charles, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, General Mills, Inc.  Additionally, Craig Parshal of the National Religious Broadcasters Association will be the only witness to speak in opposition to ENDA.

“We thank Chairman Harkin and Senators Merkley, Kirk, Casey and Collins for their leadership on fair workplaces,” added Griffin.

Americans overwhelmingly support LGBT workplace non-discrimination laws.  According to a November 2011 poll by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for HRC, 77 percent of voters support protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment.  The support for employment protections defies conventional political wisdom, reaching across party and ideological lines.  Seventy percent of self-identified Republicans and 67 percent of conservatives support anti-discrimination laws.  Support is strong even among groups who tend to be less supportive of LGBT issues, such as seniors (69 percent among voters over age 65), those with a high school degree or less (68 percent), observant Christians (77 percent), born-again Christians (74 percent), and residents of the Deep South (72 percent).

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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