Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pennsylvania Senators Co-Sponsor LGBT-Inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Today, Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, applauded Pennsylvania Senators Casey and Specter for co-sponsoring an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act(ENDA), which would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees from workplace discrimination. The bill, which enjoys bipartisan support in Congress, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing federal employment non-discrimination laws. This bill was introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley (OR-D), Susan Collins (ME-R), and Edward M. Kennedy (MA-D).

"Workplace protections for LGBT people are urgently needed and long overdue," said Jake Kaskey, Policy and Outreach Coordinator for Equality Advocates Pennsylvania. “The President has said he is ready to sign this bill. All we need now is for the Senate to act."

Currently, 12 states and more than 100 localities have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination protections, covering nearly 40 percent of Americans. And, according to numerous surveys, large majorities of likely voters in the U.S. support federal employment non-discrimination laws to protect LGBT people.

Pennsylvania State Representatives are currently debating House Bill 300, an amendment to the state’s Human Relations Act that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Earlier this session, House Bill 300 was voted successfully out of the State Government Committee, the first-ever vote this legislation has received in Pennsylvania’s history. Polling from 2007 shows a majority of Pennsylvanians from every ideology, region, political party, and age supporting this type of legislation.

Equality Advocates Pennsylvania continues to work with organizations and individuals across Pennsylvania to not only pass this important federal legislation, but also show the need for a state law that protects all Pennsylvanians from discrimination.

"We urge Congress to take speedy action to put this bill on the President's desk," said Kaskey. "LGBT employees work just as hard and contribute just as much as other workers. They should not have to fear losing their jobs simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression."

For more information about ENDA or to send an e-mail to Senator Casey and Senator Specter thanking them for co-sponsoring this bill, visit the Equality Advocates Pennsylvania.

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