Hey All… Allow me to step up onto this soap box here for a second. Ok, there we go.
There’s an important piece of legislation that has been introduced into the House of Representatives. It’s officially called “H.R. 2981: To prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity” but most people will know it by its short title, “Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009.” It’s currently in committee, so there may or may not be much that you can do, depending on your Representative’s committee assignment. HOWEVER, please do call or write your Representative anyway and show them that you support the bill.
Now.. You’re probably wondering, what all this bill does, and asking “wait, aren’t those groups already protected under current discrimination laws?” Well to answer the second question first, it’s a simple, No, they’re not. So yes, if you do not live in one of the states that has a local ENDA, you can be fired for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. Stupid, no? Join The Impact has a good summary, too, as to what this bill does:
ENDA will add sexual orientation and gender identity to pre-existing employment non-discrimination laws. ENDA is such a common sense idea that most people believe it is already illegal to fire someone for being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender. While there are already 12 states and 100 localities that protect 40 percent of the population, millions are still at risk.
This is an important bill that needs to pass, and is going to require pressure from constituents to make sure that Representatives (and in the future, Senators, though nothing has been introduced there yet,) to pass it. Oh, one other important point….any version that passes needs to be INCLUSIVE to all, as it stands right now. A similar bill had been introduced to the last Congress, however, it only covered sexual orientation, and not gender identity, which is something that also needs to be on the list of protections. (And no, gender identity is not the same as sexual orientation, but that is beyond the scope of this post.)
Anyway, here’s some links for you to find out more information:
*steps off soapbox*