FOUR LITTLE LETTERS THAT CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROVIDING FOR YOUR FAMILY AND POVERTY: E-N-D-A
There are only 17 states that have state-wide protection from being fired at your job because of sexual orientation or gender identity (plus another four that only protect sexual orientation). That means that the majority of states in our country offer no state-wide protection from being called into your manager’s office one day, after getting wonderful reviews for 20 years, and being fired simply because your new manager didn’t like gay people. And recent polls show that most Americans don’t support this type of discrimination, and in fact think it is already illegal to fire someone because they are gay. But it’s not.
And there’s been a bill languishing in Congress for years and years called ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And it’s really the most simple bill. It says that you can’t be discriminated at your job because of your orientation or gender identity, regardless of what state you happen to live in. It says that people should be judged on their abilities at work, not on what their orientation happens to be. It’s frankly what America is supposed to stand for – equal opportunity for all.
But although there is now bi-partisan support for this in the U.S. Senate, it looks like the House of Representatives won’t even allow its members to vote on it. And while we are not a political organization, the truth is that there are three words that are preventing a vote from even being allowed: The Republican Party.
It’s incredible to me that in 2013, our representatives in Congress won’t even be allowed to vote on the bill, because the Republican-controlled House of Representatives knows that if a vote were allowed to take place, the law would almost certainly pass. So let’s just not let anybody vote. Not exactly the American Way.
So please, call your representative and urge them to support ENDA, and to allow people to vote on it. Because it’s hard for us to protect ourselves and our families, when we never know if tomorrow will be the day we’ll be fired, just for being ourselves.
Brad Becker, Executive Director