Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken signed on to sponsor the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday. ENDA would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment. In 29 states, it is still legal to fire someone due to sexual orientation and in 38 states for being transgender.
Minnesota became the first state to ban discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity when it passed the Human Rights Act in 1993. “Sen. Franken was proud to co-sponsor the [bill],” said Jess McIntosh, Franken’s spokesperson. Klobuchar supported similar bills in 2007 and 2008. A House version of the bill is backed by Reps. Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison and James Oberstar. “This legislation is long overdue. We cannot continue to allow two standards of rights in the workplace, based on sexual orientation or identity,” said Senator Olympia Snowe, a Republican from Maine, who introduced the bill with Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. “Ensuring equality for all Americans is the least we can do in living up to the standards of inclusion that this nation is built upon. There is no place for discriminating against any of our citizens for whatever reason and I commend my colleagues for their willingness to champion equal rights for every American.”