John Boehner may block ENDA
While there’s celebration that a proposed law that will bar discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans in the workplace has moved forward, its future remains uncertain.
On Monday, the US Senate voted 61 to 30 to consider the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), with strong support from Democrats and some Republican senators.
This process sets up a historic vote later this week, where the Senate is expected to pass ENDA.
Remarkably, it remains legal to fire people for being gay or lesbian in 29 US states and for their gender identity in 33 states, something which the bill aims to bring to an end.
Once the bill passes the Senate it is then meant to move to the House of Representatives, which is where the legislation may come unstuck.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner – the same man behind the recent US government shutdown – has said that he does not support the bill and is likely to use his powers to block it from being voted on in the House.
Boehner believes that the legislation “will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,” his spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.
Other critics of the law have come up with various ridiculous reasons to oppose it.
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer called the law a “Paedophile Protection Act” and bizarrely ranted that it offers “no protection…for heterosexuals, none whatsoever…”
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin slammed Boehner’s opposition to ENDA.
“Americans are tired of partisanship and are looking for some sign that Washington can still get big things done,” he said.
“Instead of letting the far right trample him again, it’s time for Speaker Boehner to stand with the majority of everyday Republican voters and support ENDA.”
On Sunday, President Obama expressed his support for ENDA.
“Millions of LGBT Americans go to work every day fearing that, without any warning, they could lose their jobs – not because of anything they’ve done, but simply because of who they are,” Obama wrote in the Huffington Post.
“It’s offensive. It’s wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense.”
Polls show that almost 70% of Americans believe that gays and lesbians should be protected from workplace discrimination.