Gay rights groups urge Congress to act on ENDA

In a joint statement to Congress on Friday, leaders of several gay rights groups asked Congress to act on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or ENDA.

The letter stated, "For decades now, we have called upon Congress to pass legislation to address the basic right of LGBT people to work free from discrimination at our jobs, and now Congress tells us we must wait another year. In 29 states, it remains legal to fire people based on sexual orientation and in 38 states, discrimination based on gender identity remains legal. In failing to take swift action to pass ENDA, our government allows unfettered bigotry to go unchecked, leading to the loss of jobs, fear in the workplace, economic instability, and personal hardship, while allowing employers to lose competent experienced workers. ENDA is urgently needed by our communities."

ENDA is a proposed bill in the United States Congress that would end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity nation wide. The bill was first introduced in 1994. Protections for transgendered persons were not included in early versions of the bill.

A national study found that 37% of transgendered persons had experienced job discrimination. Other studies have shown that a majority of voters support protection against discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Fair Wisconsin, a local LGBT rights group, is urging the LGBT community to contact Congress and urge their Representatives to vote for the bill. You can find information on how to reach your Representative and a sample script here:

Angelique Courtney, The Examiner

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