Governor Dannel P. Malloy today released the following statement applauding Senate action to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and urging the United States House to quickly take up the legislation, which would provide strong federal protections against discrimination, making it explicitly illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
"When it comes to employment, workers in our society should be judged based on one thing: how well they do their job. It is not acceptable -- nor legal -- for a worker to be fired based on their religion, race, color, gender, nationality, age or disability. And yet, under federal law, it is still legal to fire, deny job opportunities or harass someone based solely on their sexual orientation or gender identity -- something that is not only wrong, but offensive, and contrary to the promise of all Americans to the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
"In Connecticut, we are fortunate to have these protections for workers in our state statutes. In fact, I was proud to be the Governor who signed legislation in 2011 expanding this to include gender identity. And yet, millions of Americans across our country still go into work every day fearing that they could be fired, not because of how well they do their job, but because of who they are.
"While support for this measure continues to grow and imminent approval in the U.S. Senate nears, it is disappointing to hear Speaker Boehner indicate that he will not even allow Congress to debate this legislation because of a belief it will lead to frivolous lawsuits. As the Governor of a state that has sexual orientation and gender identity built into our nondiscrimination laws, I can attest to the fact that the Speaker's assertions are unfounded and mistaken. None of his speculations about what could possibly happen have even come close to reality in our state.
"It is time to end the patchwork of state and local laws protecting Americans from discrimination and pass one federal law, making it clearer and less confusing for both employers and employees alike. I thank the Senate, and particularly Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, for advancing the bill. It is time for the House to follow suit."