Human Rights Campaign urges US congress to pass ENDA
Human Right Campaign President Chad Griffin has urged Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), saying it will guarantee millions of LGBT people across the US with explicit protections from discrimination in the workplace.
Griffin also encouraged LGBT allies and advocates in Congress to work on improving the overly broad religious exemptions.
“All of us in the LGBT movement knew that passing ENDA wasn’t going to be easy in the 113th Congress. In fact, we knew it would require the biggest legislative campaign in the history of this movement,” Griffin commented in a column for Buzzfeed.
“We all knew the bill wouldn’t be perfect, because legislating always involves compromises. But we also knew that there were two red lines we would not cross. The bill had to be inclusive of the entire LGBT community, and it had to ensure that private employers could never cite a religious reason to fire or refuse to hire an employee."
Griffin said regardless of whether or not the bill passes the LGBTI movement needs to push for a fully comprehensive LGBT civil rights bill.
“A bill that, at long last, would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all core civil rights categories — including housing, public accommodations, credit, education, and, if ENDA fails to pass, employment. This is a visionary idea that Congresswoman Bella Abzug brought to Congress in 1974. Its time has come.”
Griffin believes whilst ENDA is a powerful step forward, full civil rights for LGBT people is essential.
“We all agree that, at the end of the day, full federal equality is the only acceptable option, nothing more, nothing less. The campaign for a strong ENDA continues with more urgency than ever before, but we’ve got to dig in for the fight of our lives.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Quuer Nation member Ken Kidd, who said a comprehensive civil rights bill will give LGBT people the same rights and protections that are afforded to every US citizen.
“We are equal in every way, and our law must recognise that, as HRC has done,” said Ken Kidd. “We call on every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight person to support and fight for this goal. And we call on all of our community groups and all of our allies to do the same.”
“This may be a longer fight, but we will win it, and when we have won we will be equal under the law—nothing more, nothing less,” Kidd added.
Kidd also suggested HRC should drop its support of ENDA and focus instead on pushing for an all encompassing civil rights bill.
"A comprehensive federal civil rights law will give lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people all the protections in ENDA and much more," Kidd said. "ENDA has been rejected by our leading community groups. ENDA keeps us as second-class citizens, and it has no place in our movement."