Discrimination in any form is unacceptable and reprehensible, and who knows that better than those of us who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
Bullies target us, right-wing extremists belittle us, religious leaders malign us and spread lies about us, while certain politicians think that extending equal opportunities to the LGBT community will confer “special rights” upon us, and infringe on their right to free speech.
Religious leaders falsely claim that outlawing LGBT discrimination will infringe upon their “religious freedom,” because bigoted Christians want to be able to continue to denigrate and defame us.
Politicians say that banning LGBT discrimination will impact their “free speech” rights, because they want to be able to bully and slander us, wherever and whenever they see fit.
In 1974 the Equality Act was introduced in Congress, because even then, politicians recognized that the LGBT community was subjected to discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation, and the bill was meant to address those issues. The bill went nowhere.
In 1994, the focus was narrowed to employment, and the first Employment Non-Discrimination Act was introduced. The legislation prohibited discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Needless to say ENDA has never passed both the House and Senate, and there are no federal employment protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA) was introduced this past April in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and in the Senate by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
The House bill (H.R.1755) currently has 175 co-sponsors (174 Democrats and 1 Republican), and the Senate bill (S.815) currently has 52 co-sponsors (50 Democrats and 2 Republicans).
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was asked last week if he would support banning LGBT employment discrimination, and he said “By and large I think all Americans should be protected, but I’m not for any special protections based on orientation.” Rubio thinks it’s perfectly fine to be fired if you’re LGBT.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) was also asked last week if he supported making it illegal to fire an employee because they are LGBT, and he replied that “I don’t particularly like the federal government telling anybody to do anything.”
The Family Besmirch Council, the anti-gay hate group, has created a new website to fight ENDA. They’re exercising their right to free speech (though it's wrong speech), and the anti-gay website is filled with abject lies and misinformation.
They falsely assert that ENDA is related to marriage equality, which would be laughable if they were just stupid. They can’t win any campaign on the merits, so they falsify information.
ENDA is a "one size fits all" solution to alleged discrimination that erases all marriage-based distinctions. It grants special rights to homosexuals while ignoring those of employers. The federal government should not force private businesses to abandon their moral principles.
In a letter that accompanies the petition they ask their supporters to sign, they continue their false assertions. [emphasis mine]
Please do not tarnish the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement by treating a person's chosen sexual behaviors or their gender self-identification as a protected category in the nation's civil rights laws. The choice to engage in homosexual conduct and the choice to adopt a "transgender" identity (sex change or cross-dressing) are not equivalent to the established (and immutable) protected categories of one's race and biological sex, nor are they protected by the Constitution (as is the freedom of religion, also a protected category).
The Supreme Court of The United States ruled in 2003 (Lawrence v. Texas ) that being gay was legal, and the government couldn’t regulate the behavior of 2 consenting adults in the privacy of their home. That’s why the country’s sodomy statutes were invalidated. That court decision designated the LGBT community as a protected class in the Constitution.
Writing for the majority Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote “The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime."
Despite the efforts to demean our existence by some members of Congress, and a large number of errant religious leaders, and fringe right-wing extremists like the Family Besmirch Council, I’m sure that most Americans can recognize that they are mischaracterizing what ENDA is all about.
Republicans in Congress and the Family Besmirch Council are fighting another losing battle.
Whether ENDA is enacted this year or next, it will pass in both houses sooner or later. I hope that it’s sooner, because our economic prosperity depends on it.
© 2011 - 2013 JIVEINTHE415.COM All Rights Reserved