If and when ENDA passes, it will still be legal to fire on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity between eighty-eight and ninety-two percent of the workers in the thirty-three states that do not have state legislation covering both sexual orientation and gender identity workplace civil rights. It will also be legal to fire on the basis of gender identity the same percentage of people in the nine states that have sexual orientation protection without covering gender identity.
And it won't cover what is in many states -- Indiana included -- the housing discrimination that has historically been the greatest source of discrimination complaints by gay people. Nor will it cover public accommodation or credit.
In other words, ENDA sucks.
What is needed at the federal level is amendatory legislation covering the 1964 Civil Rights Act and subsequent legislation such as that dealing with housing and disability rights. We started out with amendatory legislation with Rep. Bella Abzug's landmark bill decades ago. The history of how we got to this sorry state of affairs is long and full of cowardice, poor strategic thinking, and outright treachery. Many of the interorganizational issues that led to dropping amendatory legislation and pushing ENDA instead have been resolved but, somehow, the nearly useless trash that is ENDA lives on. I won't bore you with the details here. Action is what counts.
Ask your favorite national civil rights organization(s) why they are pushing a bill that is little more than pointless window dressing -- why they are indicating by their actions that full civil rights protections are good for other minorities but that we should settle for just a fraction of it. Demand that they drop ENDA and fight for real civil rights protections instead.
Explain to your Congressional delegation that voting for ENDA is a nice but functionally nearly empty gesture and ask them to insist on being able to vote for a comprehensive, amendatory civil rights bill covering sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination instead.