'Members of Congress are fighting for more than 2 million federal workers while a Bush appointee tries to chisel away at protections,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - Legislation that would clarify existing law to ensure protections from anti-gay discrimination in the federal workplace was passed today by a unanimous voice vote in the House Government Reform Committee. Introduced by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Chris Shays, R-Conn., the Clarification of Federal Employment Protections Act became necessary after President Bush's appointee at the Office of Special Counsel began rolling back protections in existence since the Carter administration.
"Members of Congress are fighting for more than 2 million federal workers while a Bush appointee tries to chisel away at protections," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "This measure would halt the rollback of a law preventing anti-gay discrimination that has existed for three decades. Today's vote was an important step toward restoring these critical protections. Our thanks extend to Representatives Henry Waxman, Chris Shays and Tom Davis for their leadership."
For more than two decades, a federal statute, the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, has been interpreted to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace for federal employees. Special Counsel Scott Bloch, who heads one of the federal agencies responsible for investigating and settling claims of workplace discrimination, claimed at a Senate hearing in May that he lacks authority to investigate or act on certain claims of sexual orientation discrimination from federal employees.
In April 2004, the White House released the following statement: "Longstanding federal policy prohibits discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation. ﾃ President Bush expects federal agencies to enforce this policy and to ensure that all federal employees are protected from unfair discrimination at work."
"From national park rangers to emergency personnel, federal employees fill important roles in American society. The last thing they should have to worry about is a bureaucrat in Washington rolling back their employment protections," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Our work continues as we fight for these critical protections, including strongly advocating for an Employment Non-Discrimination Act that protects every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender American from workplace discrimination."
The Clarification of Federal Employment Protections Act was introduced June 30, 2005, by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Chris Shays, R-Conn., Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Barney Frank, D-Mass. Mark Foley, R-Fla. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. Danny Davis, D-Ill. and Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
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