U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today made the below statement following the Senate's vote to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA) with strong bipartisan support, 64-32. Baldwin is an original cosponsor of the legislation with Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Susan Collins (R-ME).
"I couldn't be more proud of the bipartisan effort to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Today, America took a strong step forward and with that step we showed the great promise of what can be achieved if we work together in a bipartisan way to get things done for the American people.
"Every American deserves the freedom to work free of discrimination and this bipartisan effort advanced our uniquely American values- freedom, fairness and opportunity. Passing this legislation is about freedom --the freedom to realize our founding belief that all Americans are created equal under the law. It's about fairness -- about whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans deserve to be treated just like their family members, their friends, their neighbors and fellow workers. It's about opportunity -- about whether every American gets to dream the same dreams, chase the same ambitions, and have the same shot at success.
"This generation can be the one in which we fulfill the promise of freedom and equality for all, in which America finally becomes a place where everyone's rights are respected at work, and every family's love and commitment can be recognized, respected, and rewarded under the law. I am proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort to build a tomorrow where America is more equal, not less. It is now my hope that the House of Representatives will put progress ahead of politics and answer the call for leadership in moving our country forward."
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 would prohibit employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against those employed or seeking employment, on the basis of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. Such protections are already in place prohibiting discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age, and disability.