Thursday, November 7, 2013

Observations from the Coffee Shop 11.7

Later today, possibly early afternoon, the full U.S. Senate will vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. First proposed in 1974 ENDA has been submitted to every Congress since Senator Edward Kennedy introduced it to the Senate in 1994. It has failed to pass both Houses of Congress every year and this year probably won't be any different. ENDA should pass the Senate with a clear majority but I don't see it getting a vote in the House where Republican Speaker John Boehner is once again scared of his own shadow. Boehner, whose office likes to tweet with the hashtag #FairnessForAll, said Monday he wouldn't bring the bill up for a vote.

In a poll taken in May 73% of those polled favored some kind of job protection while only 22% were against it. In a recent poll, which I can't seem to find, 80% of those asked actually thought it was already illegal to fire someone for being gay. It should be noted that even in Mississippi, the state with the lowest level of support, 63% support protection. Boehner's usual claim that a bill will cost jobs is mute because most large corporations have rules against such discrimination and 21 states ban it.

I just wanted to take a moment this morning to honor the 29 states where it is still legal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation. It is legal to fire someone for simply being born.

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Well done.