Hordes of people crammed into the House yesterday to listen as Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) and friends reintroduced the ever-controversial Employment Non-Discrimination Act. As you know, the act will bar employers from firing or refusing to hire based on sexuality or gender identity. While some states have similar laws, this federal plan would finally equalize the country – forty-four states still allow trans discrimination, thirty-three can legally spit in gay eyes.
Many conservatives, however, see ENDA as a sinister sissie plot to take over America. Frank – the first openly gay Representative – made clear that the Act’s not about a take over, but about full equality. He even drawled:
Opponents of this sometimes say this it’s some deep, dark plot to make some of them like some of us. Let me say at the outset that my indifference to whether a lot of these people think well of me or not cannot be overestimated. This has nothing to do with seeking anybody’s approval. It is seeking people’s right to be able to get a job, to get promoted, to be treated on the job solely on job performance.
Barney Frank, will you marry us?
As politicos gathered at the House, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations president John Sweeney issued a statement reading:
Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is inconsistent with the principles of equal opportunity and equal employment that our movement has fought for. With the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers across this nation would have protection from workplace discrimination, protections that so many workers receive now only because of their union contracts.
The AFL-CIO is proud to stand behind this significant civil rights legislation that is urgently needed and long overdue. We look forward to working with others in the labor and civil rights communities to move this issue forward on Capitol Hill.
Trade unions may seem a bit archaic, but the AFL-CIO has an estimated 9,000,000 members. Pretty huge, right?
Let’s just hope they’re powerful enough to force some of the more archaic politicians to see the light of the future. Or, rather, the past. These rights were, after all, set up by our founding fathers.
For the full video of yesterday’s reintroduction, click here.