U.S. Senate passed bipartisan bill to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity
I(DES MOINES, Iowa) Attorney General Tom Miller and a group of 13 state attorneys general today urged U.S. House Speaker John Boehner to send to the floor the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“This is the right thing to do, as the bill provides needed equal protection and opportunity for millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens,” Miller said. Iowa and 21 other states currently outlaw employment discrimination against LGBT individuals.
“Since there’s not currently a federal anti-discrimination law, people are at risk for discrimination because of nothing more than their sexual orientation, and this bill would provide them needed legal protection,” Miller added, noting that current federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin, but does not prohibit an employer from firing or refusing to hire employees because of their sexual orientation.
“As the chief law enforcement officers for our states, we are tasked with promoting equal protection and equal opportunity for our residents,” state attorneys general wrote in their letter to Boehner. “We urge you to bring this historic bill to the floor for a vote.”
The U.S. Senate passed the bill November 7 in a bipartisan, 64-32 vote. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
In 2010, Congress repealed the ban on gays serving openly in the military.