Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell

(San Francisco, CA, April 14, 2011)—Today, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, announced that they introduced the fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit most employers across the country from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers.

The bill, known as ENDA, would make it illegal under federal law for employers with at least 15 employees to discriminate against, harass, or fire anyone due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. While surveys show that over 60 percent of Americans overwhelmingly support workplace protections for LGBTQ people, it still remains legal in more than half the country for employees and job applicants to be discriminated against based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Last week, U.S. Representative Barney Frank, D-Mass., the longest-serving openly gay member of Congress, introduced ENDA in the House, and pledged to work to build congressional support for the bill.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“Congress has waited far too long to pass an inclusive bill that would provide basic workplace protections for LGBTQ people, and we must fight for this legislation’s passage. We don’t have the luxury of waiting any longer—too many people are at risk, too many people are being discriminated against each day, and too many people need these basic workplace protections. We must hold our elected officials accountable to their duty of protecting each and every single one of us until a fully-inclusive ENDA is signed into law.”

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.