While the Republicans seem determined to turn back the hands of time, the Democrats are showing some major progress when it comes to equal rights.
A draft of the Democratic Party’s platform not only includes support for gay marriage but also the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a federal bill that would prohibit LGBT people from being discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the worplace. Buzzfeed attained the language relating to the proposed bill:
We know that putting America back to work is job one, and we are committed to ensuring Americans do not face employment discrimination. We support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because people should not be fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to ensuring all Americans are treated fairly. This administration hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and we must continue our work to prevent vicious bullying of young people and support LGBT youth. The President’s record, from ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in full cooperation with our military leadership, to passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to ensuring same-sex couples can visit each other in the hospital, reflects Democrats’ belief that all Americans deserve the same chance to pursue happiness, earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love.
Obama came under fire earlier this year after neglecting to sign an executive order protecting federal contractors from sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination, despite his longtime endorsement of the ENDA. However, this draft of the Democrat’s platform shows a marked improvement over their 2008 platform, which had no intention of supporting gay marriage and was decidedly vague over employee non-discrimination:
We support the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections. We will enact a comprehensive bipartisan employment non-discrimination act. We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us.
While progress has certainly been made over the past four years, the ACLU still hopes the platform will also endorse the Student Non-Discrimination Act, “legislation in Congress which would establish a comprehensive federal anti-discrimination prohibition in all public elementary and secondary schools based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” That bill already has the support of Obama and 170 members of the House.