Legislation to bar discrimination based on sexuality the workplace was introduced in Congress Tuesday afternoon.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on the person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill was filed in the House by Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Chris Shays (R-Conn.)
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would extend federal employment discrimination protections that are currently provided on race, religion, gender, national origin, age, and disability to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Currently, it is legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation in 33 states, and it is legal to do so based on gender identity or expression in 42 states. If ENDA is passed, any American who thinks s/he has been discriminated against because of his/her perceived sexual orientation or gender identity will be able to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the committee that handles all violations of Title VII, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and be able to sue their employee for certain damages if they fulfill the EEOC requirements.
Updates and reactions later.
Update: More reactions after the jump.
The Task Force is taking credit for the trans-inclusiveness:
The Task Force has also played a leading role in ensuring ENDA is explicitly inclusive of transgender people. Eight years ago, the Task Force vowed to oppose the legislation if it were not inclusive, prompting criticism from some community members and allies who felt the Task Force was hindering ENDA's progress. The Task Force has remained steadfast and partnered with transgender activists and organizations to defend and secure a transgender-inclusive ENDA and has strongly encouraged LGBT colleague organizations to do the same.
The Victory Fund is claiming credit for Frank and Baldwin's leadership on thiis:
Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin are the staunchest allies we have because they are part of our community," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. "They won't just be part of the debate; they'll be the subject of the debate. When lawmakers talk about the ramifications of this bill, they'll be looking into the faces of two openly gay officials whose lives will be directly impacted by it, and that's powerful.
I don't know how much Baldwin and Frank would be persoanlly affected by this considering that it doesn't cover elected officials, but whatevs.
And the HRC's press release pushes the "gays are good little workers" angle:
"Nationwide's equal employment opportunity, non-discrimination and harassment policies specifically state that we will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any associate based on sexual orientation or gender identity," said Steven Keyes, vice president for compensation, benefits and human resources policy at Nationwide, a member of the business coalition. "Having a corporate culture that embraces diversity improves the productivity of our associates, helps the company recruit the best talent and makes Nationwide more competitive in the insurance and financial services industry."
On the flipside, none of the major heterosexual supremacist groups have responded yet. They'd better get on the ball! I'd expect them all to have actional alerts warning people about the "drag queen/homosexual special rights bill" by tomorrow morning. They would just love it if we were all unemployed, wouldn't they?