|For the first time since it was introduced in Congress in 1994, an all LGBT-inclusive ENDA has the very real possibility of becoming law. Not only because it is continued being pushed by Democrats, but now being championed through a bipartisan effort, also supported by many Republicans. A total of ten Republican Senators went on to support ENDA last year, among them a surprising vote by Senator John McCain, ultimately helping pass ENDA along with the Democrats for the very first time in the Senate's history.
In response to this historic vote, Boehner said he sees "no basis or no need for this legislation," arguing that "[p]eople are already protected in the workplace."
Speaker John Boehner is, sadly, very much misinformed.
It remains legal to fire someone based on their gender identity in 33 states, and in 29 states you can still fire someone based on their sexual orientation. In the state of Texas, you can do both.
According to Equality Texas' Equality 2013 Poll, an overwhelming majority of Texas voters, 75.8%, support banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace and housing. 69.7% of Texas voters also support protecting transgender citizens from workplace and housing discrimination.
Given the overwhelming support by Texas voters against LGBT discrimination in the workplace, it is fair to ask: Why have Democratic Representatives Cuellar, Gallego and Green not come out in support of ENDA? Considering just how close this major LGBT civil rights legislation is to becoming reality since it was first introduced twenty years ago, and just how important their votes are needed to finally make this possible.
Speaking as a young progressive, as a Democrat, an LGBT person, and as a Texas voter, I believe it's perfectly acceptable that our party has differences in views among it's members, especially those representing more conservative districts. But there are certain issues whose time for debate have long since passed -- and employment discrimination is one of them. 75% of Texas voters agree on this very basic law.
For ENDA to succeed, it is pivotal for Democrats to stand in unity against LGBT discrimination in the workplace. And as the Democratic voting base, it is incumbent on us to voice our support against discrimination so that our party members can then make the right decision.
You can find the contact information for Congressmen Cuellar, Gallego and Green below: