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November 9, 2007

ENDA Passes in the House

So it actually happened. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would extend federal employment discrimination protections (that are currently provided on race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability) to cover sexual orientation as well.

This is the first time either house of Congress has passed employment protections of this kind. Unfortunately it was not the fully inclusive version that was originally wanted (this version does not include protection based on "gender identity") but this is still a major advance. The Human Rights Campaign has described this as "the best way to move towards our long-term goal of protecting the entire community" and "a first and absolutely necessary step towards equality for GLBT people in the workplace".

But have no fear... rest assured that the HRC (and others) have not given up working on getting "gender identity" in there and to ensure equal rights for all (not just regarding employment discrimination, but also in education, housing and more).

Also, it's important to recognize what a great achievement it is to get ENDA this far, considering the attitudes of many of the people who oppose it. For example, the organization Concerned Women for America has opposed ENDA for years and has quite a few pages on their website devoted to it. Our favorite list of "talking points" has some real gems:
Put the federal government in the position of adopting a view of sexuality utterly at odds with that propounded by the major faiths of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. All major faiths support marriage and oppose homosexual conduct. The U.S. government would be placing people with traditional views of morality into opposition to their own government. King George never intruded this deeply into Americans’ lives.

Aside from the fact that many people believe that religious leaders like Jesus would have opposed things like homophobia because of their apparent belief in concepts like tolerance, respect, justice, and love...shouldn't that be irrelevant anyway, what with the little matter of the separation of church and state that our government is supposed to uphold? Nice shout out to King George, though. We can only hope this means that bigoted right-wing extremists will soon plan to repeat history by sailing off to found their own new "moral" world somewhere far, far away.
Elevate multiple-sex-partner relationships into a federally protected “right.” By including “bisexuality” in the definition of sexual orientations, the government would go on record supporting the practice of having sex with more than one person. This is a direct challenge to the intent behind the Defense of Marriage Act and other laws designed to protect marriage.

This doesn't even make logical sense. "Multiple-sex-partner relationships?" You can be bisexual and be a virgin, or be bisexual and be married or in a monogamous relationship. And you can certainly be heterosexual and have sex with multiple partners over time, as many Republican politicians who cheat on their wives well know. It sounds like they think 'bisexual' means 'polyamorous' or 'someone who has sex with two people at once', but I think it's all the same to them--they really just mean that bisexual=dirty slut.

When it comes right down to it, ENDA is about employment discrimination, which in the vast majority of workplaces has very little to do with religion or marriage or moral views in general. It's one (wrong) thing to say that gay people shouldn't be allowed to marry or have children, but to say that it's okay to discriminate against gays in the workplace because you're scared to death that your son might end up with a gay Boy Scout troop leader? Give us a break.

If your Congressperson voted yes on ENDA, you might want to write or call and thank them. Then write or call your Senators and tell them to follow the House's lead. Then write to President Bush and tell him not to be a jerk and veto. (Yeah, don't bother on that last one.) We'll keep you updated, if we're not too busy with our multiple-sex-partner relationships.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad this finally passed. Even if it does encourage you dirty sluts. hahah!