News / USA

    Employment Protections for Gays Expected to Pass US Senate

    Employment Protections for Gays Expected to Pass US Senatei
    X
    November 06, 2013 9:20 PM
    A bill to protect gay and trans-gendered Americans from workplace discrimination is expected to pass the Senate this week, but stall in the House of Representatives. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act - known as "ENDA" - is viewed by some as an overdue advance for civil rights, and by others as an unnecessary and unwise federal intrusion into the workforce.
    Michael Bowman
    A bill to protect gay and trans-gendered Americans from workplace discrimination is expected to pass the Senate this week, but stall in the House of Representatives.The Employment Non-Discrimination Act - known as "ENDA" - is viewed by some as an overdue advance for civil rights, and by others as an unnecessary and unwise federal intrusion into the workforce.

    Gay Americans have won the right to serve openly in the military and the right to marry in a growing number of states. But many are still fearful at their jobs, according to activist Sarah Warbelow.

    “They [gays] want to be judged on the basis of their skills, their talents and their efforts, not on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” she said.

    In most U.S. states, a worker can be denied a job or fired because he or she is gay or trans-gendered. ENDA would ban such discrimination nationwide with exemptions for religious organizations. The bill has the backing of President Barack Obama and all Senate Democrats, including Tom Harkin.

    "Too many of our fellow-citizens are being judged, not by what they can contribute to the workplace, but by whom they are and who they choose to love,” said Harkin.

    Susan Collins is among a small group of Republican senators supporting ENDA. "The right to work is fundamental. How can we in good conscience deny that right to any LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-gendered] American who is qualified and willing to work?”

    Senate ENDA opponents have been largely silent. But in the Republican-led House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner issued a statement saying the bill would encourage frivolous lawsuits and harm job creation. ENDA is unlikely to get a House vote absent Boehner’s support.

    Some argue anti-discrimination laws can backfire by making employers fearful of the very groups the measures seek to protect.

    Analyst Walter Olson said, “For example, age discrimination law was intended to make it easier for older workers in the workforce. In practice, problems of older workers have gotten worse since that law was passed. And one reason is that they are seen as legally dangerous by employers [who worry] 'Gee, if they do not work out, they are a walking lawsuit'."

    Olson added that Americans already have become far more accepting of gay people, making ENDA unnecessary.

    The Senate’s only openly-gay member, Tammy Baldwin, said the measure will ensure dignity in the workplace "We [gay people] want to live in a country where we are respected for who we are. Where we enjoy freedom and opportunity because that is who we are as Americans."

    Current federal law already protects workers on the basis of race, religion, national origin, age and disability.  

    ENDA was initially championed by former Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy in the 1990s. Political observers say many lawmakers now willing to cast votes for gay rights would not have done so just a decade ago.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    What Your First Name Says About Who You Support for President

    Bobby, Betty and Curtis tend to support Donald Trump while people named Juan, Liz or Mohammad are more likely to lean toward Hillary Clinton

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jolie Mckenna from: Racine, WI
    November 08, 2013 6:53 AM
    I hate to be one of those pretentious corrector types - God knows I get enough of them (me) myself. But - the word is transgender not transgendered. Transgender persons do not "get transgendered" by some outside mysterious force. We are transgender because that is our "being" it is our existence. To suggest that we were made transgendered in the same way that we might have been made unemployed is both frustrating and somewhat offensive.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora