(Washington, D.C., August 5, 2009)— The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) applauds Senators Jeff Merkley (OR-D), Susan Collins (ME-R), Olympia Snowe (ME-R), and Edward M. Kennedy (MA-D) for introducing an inclusive Employment Non- Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees from workplace discrimination. The bill, which enjoys bipartisan support in Congress, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing federal employment non-discrimination laws.

“Workplace protections for LGBTQ people are urgently needed and long overdue,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “The President has said he is ready to sign this bill. All we need now is for the Senate to act.”

On June 24, 2009 an inclusive bill was reintroduced in the House by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) and include co-sponsors IIeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jared Polis (D-CO), Michael Castle (R-DE), George Miller (D-CA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), John Conyers (D-MI), Todd Platts (R-PA), Robert Andrews (D-NJ), and Leonard Lance (R-NJ). The bill is currently pending before the House of Representatives.

Currently, twelve states, the District of Columbia, and more than 100 localities have non-discrimination protections that protect all LGBTQ workers, covering nearly 40 percent of Americans. According to numerous surveys, 60 percent of likely voters in the United

States support an inclusive federal employment non-discrimination law. President Obama has identified passing an inclusive ENDA as one of the priorities of his civil rights agenda.

NCLR has long supported passage of ENDA to ensure that the entire LGBTQ community is protected from workplace discrimination and has a full time field organizer working to organize local action teams in key communities to educate members of Congress and their staffs about the problem of gender identity and expression discrimination.

“We urge the Senate to take speedy action to put this bill on the President’s desk,” said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Price Minter. “LGBTQ employees work just as hard and contribute just as much as other workers. They should not have to fear losing their jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

For more information about ENDA, visit: http://eqfed.org/campaign/endaintroduction_senate/explanation

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.