Preventing Bias ; Congress Should Bar Discrimination Based on Workers' Sexual Orientation
Congress should pass ENDA and bar workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation
The nation's attitudes - and laws - on discrimination have changed in a remarkably short time. From civil rights to same-sex marriage, the walls are coming down. It is time now for protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender assignment to be set into law.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would ban workplace discrimination against people who are gay, lesbian or transgender, is once again working its way through Congress. House Republicans have been largely opposed to this bill. They are wrong.
Just as the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination on the basis of race and gender in hiring, promoting and firing, ENDA would provide critical protections for an entire group.
Legislation that would end such discrimination has languished in Congress for decades. Republican resistance has hinged on both business and religious grounds. Thomas M. Reynolds, a conservative Republican from Clarence, was once one of those strongly opposed to ENDA. He retired from Congress nearly five years ago and is now a lobbyist whose clients includes the American Unity Fund, an all-out effort to win Republican support for gay rights issues.
Reynolds voted against the bill in 2007. He worried it would produce a number of frivolous lawsuits. Rep. Chris Collins, who now holds Reynolds' old seat, expresses similar concerns. A spokesman for Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, said last week that he supports it.
Reynolds has said that now, at 63, he sees a lot of things differently and he's evolved on this issue. …