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Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Praises Re-Introduction Of Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Today the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus (Equality Caucus) praised the re-introduction of the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The bill is sponsored by Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), a Co-Chair of the Equality Caucus in the House, who is joined by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) as the lead Republican sponsor.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would establish basic protections in the workplace to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There are still no explicit laws protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation in 29 states and gender identity in 34 states. ENDA would provide a federal level of protection against workplace discrimination in a manner modeled closely on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and would apply to private employers as well as local, state, and federal government employers.

Joining Representative Polis in introducing ENDA as original co-sponsors were the five other Equality Caucus Co-Chairs and more than 150 original co-sponsors.

"Across our country, LGBT Americans face the daily fear of losing their jobs and livelihood simply because of who they are or who they love. Dedicated individuals should be judged based on their work, nothing more and nothing less," said Rep. Jared Polis. "I am proud to reintroduce the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with Representative Ros-Lehtinen and so many of our colleagues in the House of Representatives. We will work together to see the federal workplace protections in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed into law."

"No qualified worker should be fired from their job because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will prevent that from happening," said Rep. David Cicilline. "This is something that an overwhelming majority of Americans think is already the law, and it's time for Congress to finally take action on this important issue."

"The bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act is a simple concept - Americans should be evaluated based on their job performance, not who they love or who they are," said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

"There is no room for discrimination -- for any reason -- in our laws, in our schools, and certainly not in our places of work," said Rep. Mark Pocan. "Non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity are already in effect at a majority of our nation's largest companies, and the time has come to ensure they are also passed into law. ENDA represents bipartisan, commonsense policy that guarantees all of our workers, no matter who they are or who they love, have the opportunity to thrive and succeed in the workforce."

"Basic protections for those who work hard, pay taxes and contribute to our economy should be simple American guarantees," said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. "The successful passage of ENDA makes certain those guarantees, and it fortifies our nation's long term economic security."

"As an openly gay member of Congress who hails from a state that once attempted to ban members of the LGBT community from my profession of teaching, I understand the importance of protecting workers from discrimination," said Rep. Mark Takano. "That's why I'm proud to see both parties come together to introduce the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a law that is supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans, as it would address the longstanding problems with discrimination against LGBT workers. By establishing basic protections in the workplace, ENDA aims to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and ensure that members of the LGBT community are treated equally under the law."

"I am proud to join my colleagues in the House and Senate to re-introduce the Employment Non-Discrimination Act," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. "It is inherently unfair that many skilled, qualified and motivated LGBT members of our communities too often experience rejections at job interviews, are denied promotions, or other forms of harassment in the workplace, simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is unacceptable. Federal law is currently failing these LGBT individuals and consequently, a majority of states still allow employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill that we are proposing will end this unacceptable practice by prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. No American should have to fear harassment at work, or risk losing their livelihood because of who they are. That is why Congress needs to work to get this bill passed and set a national standard of equality for all in the workplace."

"The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would bring a much-needed measure of equality and fairness to the law," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler. "Americans believe that every individual should be able to work and contribute to our society without fear that they will be discriminated against for their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Indeed, most of America's largest companies already recognize this fundamental value. However, there are still too many workplaces where it is entirely legal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender employees. Congress must act to ensure that no employee can be fired or threatened in the workplace just because of who they are or who they love. Such deplorable acts of discrimination must not be sanctioned by our laws, which is why I have been a lead supporter of proposals like ENDA every time they were introduced since I became a member of the New York State Assembly back in 1977. Today I am proud to stand with my colleagues as we introduce ENDA and work toward its swift passage."

"The re-introduction of an inclusive ENDA is a critical step towards ensuring all Americans are treated equally in the workplace," said Rep. Diana DeGette. "I am proud to continue to stand with the LGBT community in the pursuit of full equality, and today I strongly urge the House to pass this significant legislation."

"I'm so proud to be an original sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. This is a meaningful, powerful step towards equality and inclusion. Ensuring that our laws protect every member of our society, not just some, is essential to the strength of our country," said Rep. Barbara Lee.

"Our nation must always strive to live up to its fundamental principles of freedom, justice, and equality for all," said Rep. Joaquin Castro. "That is why I am eager to join my colleagues in supporting ENDA, legislation that protects these fundamental American principles for all."

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