Blumenthal, Lembo, LGBT Advocates Call On Speaker Boehner To Bring Employment Non-Discrimination Bill To House Floor

(Hartford, CT) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) – joined by Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Robin McHaelen, founder and executive director of True Colors, Inc., and the Rev. Aaron Miller of Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford – called on U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to the House floor for a vote. Although ENDA passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 64-32 yesterday, the legislation’s path forward in the House is uncertain as Speaker Boehner has indicated that he opposes it. 

“No one in this country should go to work in fear of being fired because of whom they love,” Blumenthal said. “I call on Speaker Boehner to follow the U.S. Senate’s lead and bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to the House floor so members can vote on this landmark civil rights legislation. While I’m proud to be from one of 21 states that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, we need a comprehensive federal law to support states like Connecticut and deter employers across the country from committing such abuses. ENDA would greatly assist Connecticut employees who are victims of discrimination by providing federal sanctions that apply regardless of where their employer is located.”

“Economic growth and opportunity cannot coexist with discrimination,” Lembo said. “This week’s Senate victory – and a threatened holdout from the Speaker of the House of Representatives – is a reminder that every civil rights movement in history is celebrated incrementally. Both personally and professionally, as the state’s chief fiscal guardian, I remain hopeful that Speaker Boehner will quickly recognize that our nation’s economic recovery depends on a job market built on fairness and equality. I am grateful to live in a state where our entire federal delegation – both in the Senate and the House – is supportive and fighting for adoption of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).”

ENDA would prohibit employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor-management committees from discriminating in employment or employment opportunities on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The legislation prohibits the use of sexual orientation or gender identity as a “motivating factor” for any adverse employment action, even if there were other factors influencing the adverse action. ENDA also prohibits employer retaliation against employees seeking redress under these newly established protections.

In 1991, Connecticut passed a comprehensive law that prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and access to credit on the basis of sexual orientation. That law was amended in 2007 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of civil union status, and again in 2011 to include gender identity or expression. Connecticut is one of 21 states that have prohibited employment discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA would further deter such abuses and establish a national standard.