In advance of ENDA vote next week, HRC report finds state-level Republicans’ support for workplace protections not an issue when seeking re-election
Washington– No Republican state legislator who has voted for LGBT workplace non-discrimination protections has lost re-election because of that vote. Over the course of 31 different votes in 21 states over the past 30 years, 451 Republican state legislators have voted in favor of workplace non-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. A new analysis by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has found that 91 percent of those Republican state legislators who stood for re-election won. The analysis further shows that of those who lost, their support for workplace non-discrimination protections was not an issue.
“This report shows that protecting LGBT employees from workplace discrimination is a bipartisan endeavor that’s been going on for decades in the states,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “When looking at the hundreds of Republican state legislators who have voted for LGBT workplace protections, we found a very positive correlation between their vote and their re-election.”
Key findings from the HRC analysis include:
- Of the 451 Republican lawmakers who supported LGBT workplace non-discrimination protections, 375 were eligible to run for re-election and 342 won their races.
In five states, Republican support was critical to a bill’s passage:
- Vermont (1991, sexual orientation)
- Rhode Island (1995, sexual orientation)
- New Hampshire (1997, sexual orientation)
- New York (2002, sexual orientation)
- Delaware (2013, gender identity)
- In New Hampshire, 94 Republicans supported the state’s 1997 bill banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation – and Republicans controlled both chambers of the state legislature at the time. Of those supportive Republicans, 94 percent won re-election.
- The majority of the Republican lawmakers who did not win re-election either lost to a Democrat in the general election, or lost to a Republican challenger while coming under fire for other issues, like the economy.
- Some states passed sexual orientation and gender identity bills separately, while some passed them simultaneously. Of the 31 votes on LGBT workplace non-discrimination protections, 13 were for laws on the basis of sexual orientation, 10 were for gender identity and 8 covered both.
- Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation; and 17 states and D.C. also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.
The report comes days before the U.S. Senate is set to consider a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination. The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Mark Kirk (Ill.), and Susan Collins (Maine) also is a co-sponsor. Three Republican Senators – Kirk, Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted to advance the bill out of a Senate committee earlier this year.
The full report is available online at www.hrc.org/GOPreport .
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, 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.