On Thursday November 7, 2013 the senate approved a ban on gay and transgender bias at work. The 64-32 vote marked a milestone for an almost two decade fight for protection of gay rights in the goverment.
The bill, known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would ban government agencies, labor union and private employers (with more than 15 employees) from making decisions on hiring, firing, etc based on an employees sexual preference or gender identity.
All claims based on discrimination that are filed by employees will be heard by the Justice Department, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Courts.
The last time there was a federal vote on gay rights was in 2010, which repealed the military’s ban on gay men and lesbians in uniform.
Opposition to the bill claims that it will cause unnecessary lawsuits and push employers to cut jobs. Additionally, they maintain that it pins religious organizations in a corner by eliminating religious freedom.
Currently, there are 21 states and the District of Columbia that have laws that forbid workplace discrimination on sexual orientation as well as 17 states and D.C. that prohibit bias towards transgender.
The ENDA bill will be voted on in Congress - the vote has not yet been scheduled.
Read the full text of the bill.
Learn about the August decision by the Supreme Court that same-sex married couples will now be federally recognized as married for tax and benefit purposes.