NAACP Urges Swift Passage of The Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Blatant employment discrimination strips away the right of each individual American to be judged on their merits and abilities. Every American must be allowed to contribute to society without facing unfair discrimination on account of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation. It exacerbates our ongoing national fight against bigotry and intolerance when anyone is left unprotected.

It is currently legal in 38 states to fire or otherwise discriminate against someone solely because of their perceived sexual orientation or sexual identity. Thus the majority of Americans may be discriminated against, regardless of their job performance, simply because of who they are or who they may seem to be. Employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, whether such orientation is real, perceived, or simply used as an excuse for other forms of discrimination, denies qualified Americans their basic civil rights.

To combat this blatant discrimination, Congressman Barney Frank (MA) and Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) have re-introduced H.R. 1397 / S. 811, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). This legislation would extend civil rights protections that are currently based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability to include gays and lesbians. It would prohibit employers from making decisions about hiring, firing, promoting or compensating an employee based solely on their perceived sexual preferences. It further makes it clear that preferential treatment and quotas are strictly prohibited, and it provides exemptions to members of the Armed Services and religious organizations. ENDA is a fair and balanced approach to ensure that all Americans are given the opportunity to meet their fullest potential in the workplace.

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