ENDA has a record number of cosponsors in the House. That means we have a real chance to get ENDA passed. Despite broad support, though, our allies in Congress are refusing to even put ENDA on the agenda.
With midterm elections just around the corner and a very real possibility that the next Congress will be more hostile to LGBT equality, we must act now!
Currently it is still perfectly legal for employers in 29 states to fire someone for their sexual orientation and in 38 states to fire someone for their gender identity or expression. North Carolina has no employment non-discrimination protections for any LGBT folks.
ENDA would be a huge step forward for LGBT equality in the country (though we'll still need state-level protections to fully protect workers!).
The folks from Congress are currently back in their home districts trying to save their jobs in upcoming elections, but gay folks are left waiting for this legislation that would protect ours. Without federal job protections, millions of LGBT Americans are in danger of losing their jobs at any time in an arbitrary, capricious manner.
The threat of being fired for who you are also reinforces the closet, intimidating many folks into hiding their lives for fear of repercussions. It's much harder to be out if you're worried about being fired for it!
This is a moral issue for all Americans, not just gay ones. Everyone benefits when the best person is hired for a position, and it reassures everyone when people are evaluated based on their skills and abilities and performance instead of some intrinsic, irrelevant characteristic. Without ENDA, anyone could be discriminated against for not conforming to gender stereotypes, or fired for acting “too gay.”
GetEQUAL has put together a plan of action for their "ENDA Summer" campaign. They've targeted specific legislators to push on this issue, and two of them are here in North Carolina. For more information and to take action, go to their "Fighting for ENDA in North Carolina" page.
"Mike McIntyre is a Democratic Representative who has a track record out of line with the party's platform of LGBT equality. He opposed ENDA in 2007, opposed Hate Crimes last year, and opposed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" this year. He is, of course, leaning no on ENDA if it comes up for a vote this year.
Heath Shuler is a also Democratic Representative with the same anti-LGBT track record as Rep. McIntyre. He opposed ENDA in 2007, opposed Hate Crimes last year, and opposed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" this year. He is also, of course, leaning no on ENDA if it comes up for a vote this year.
There are other states in which GetEQUAL is targeting Republicans, specifically those who serve heavily LGBT constituencies, yet continue to vote against LGBT equality. In North Carolina, however, Democrats who vote against LGBT equality AND who vote against their own party's platform must be held accountable. Since the Democratic party continues to fund these lawmakers, it is up to us to let them know that voting against us is not OK."
It's easy enough to do something. Take action, and make a difference, now!