ENDA Passes Senate
By Rachel L. West
The Political Social Worker
It has been nearly 20 years in the making but last night ENDA (S. 815/ HR 1755) passed the United States Senate by a vote of 64/32. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act was first introduced in back in 1994. If enacted the legislation, which still needs to pass the House, would make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on the workers sexual orientation or gender identity.
Currently 21 states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. 18 states and D.C. have laws that protect workers based on gender identity (source). After Yesterday’s victory New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (@bradhoylman) called on colleagues in the state legislature to once again take up the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).
In 2002 New York passed the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) which provides protection to Lesbian, gay and bisexual employees but does not cover gender identity or expression. Not only would GENDA correct this oversight it would also extend protection to transgender people under the states hate crime law (source).
Following the Senate’s ENDA vote members of Congress took to Twitter to encourage House Speaker John Boehner to bring ENDA to a vote.
Representative Jim Himes tweeted “Bravo to the Senate for passing ENDA with bipartisan support. Time for the House to do the same #passENDA”
The Human Rights Campaign has a breakdown of how senators voted here. You can help bring ENDA to a vote in the House by contacting your congressman and asking them to support the bill. To find your representative’s contact information visit http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.
photo credit: SpeakerBoehner via photopin cc