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Religious Tolerance logo

Employment discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation and gender identity

2009: ENDA bill reintroduced in the Senate

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ENDA bill introduced to Senate:

2009-AUG-07: As the Senate broke up for its summer recess, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced an ENDA bill as its lead sponsor.  He said:

"For me, one of the huge issues that I've cared a lot about is equality under the law and fairness to all Americans, and this was just a core part of the way I view the world."

As of AUG-05, the bill had 37 co-sponsors, including the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Chris Dodd (D-CT). 1

Support for ENDA by the bill's sponsors in the Senate:

Senator Merkley said:

"There is no place in the workplace for employment discrimination. No worker in America should be fired or denied a job based on who they are.  Discrimination is wrong, period.  I?m proud to join Senator Kennedy, who is a civil rights legend, and Senators Collins and Snowe, both champions for equality, in taking this next step in our ongoing effort to create a more perfect union and guarantee every American, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, the right to earn a living."

Senator Kennedy said:

"The promise of America will never be fulfilled as long as justice is denied to even one among us. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act brings us closer to fulfilling that promise for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens.  I?m proud to join Senators Merkley and Collins in introducing this important legislation."

Senator Collins said:

"Similar to the current law in several states, including Maine, and the policies of many Fortune 500 companies, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would close an important gap in federal civil rights laws by making it illegal to discriminate in employment. I am pleased to join Senators Merkley, Kennedy and Snowe in introducing this important legislation which affirms the principle that individuals should be judged on their skills and abilities, and not by who they are." 2

A sampling of opposition to the ENDA bill:

The Task Force Action Fund -- a group promoting equal rights for persons of all gender identities and sexual orientations -- published what it calls "choice quotes  from the people actively fighting against equality." 3 All are fundamentalist Christian groups:

bulletAmericans for Truth about Homosexuality: "ENDA would be used to force small- and medium-sized businesses to subsidize immoral homosexual unions ? and that's un-American!"
bulletFamily Research Council: "Tell your member of Congress that turning harmful sexual behaviors into civil rights [ENDA] is not the kind of new 'norm' they should support."
bulletAmerican Family Association: "[ENDA] would mean that a Christian school that was hiring a secretary, janitor or football coach would not be allowed to reject a homosexual who applied for the slot."

Senate activity:

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held hearings on the ENDA bill on 2009-NOV-05. The bill did not advance.

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Chris Johnson, "Merkley introduces trans-inclusive ENDA in Senate. Activity on DOMA, DP bills expected after August recess," Washington Blade, 2009-AUG-07, at:
  2. Michael Cole, "Inclusive ENDA introduced in Senate for first time," Human Rights Campaign, 2009-AUG-05, at:
  3. "ENDA is heating up - act now," Email, The Task Force Action Fund, 2009-NOV-03.

Site navigation:

Home > "Hot" conflicts > Homosexuality > Employment > here

Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2009-AUG-07
Latest update: 2013-OCT-31
Author: B.A. Robinson

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