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Excellent Student Commentary on ENDA

Posted by libhom Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Indiana Daily Student ran an excellent commentary last month by Zach Ammerman supporting ENDA, the Employment Non Discrimination Act. The author opens with a way of discussing the issue in human terms.

In 29 states (including Indiana), it is completely legal to fire someone or deny them employment entirely because they are gay or transgendered.

Your employer could literally say, “You are a great employee, but I am firing you anyway because I don’t like gay people,” and the employee could do absolutely nothing to fight the unfair termination of his or her employment.

There is simply no reason or excuse for the Employee Non-Discrimination Act not to be passed at the national level.

Opponents of ENDA usually focus on Bible thumping. Some misguided supporters of ENDA try to thump back, which isn't such a smart strategy. Religious beliefs are the main reasons people are homophobic, so debating on the basis of religion has the unintended effect of helping ENDA opponents.

Arguing ENDA in human terms is much more powerful. There really are no humane, people based arguments that work against ENDA. We should lead from our strengths.

Ammerman makes two other excellent points.
Polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans support these protections, and a large number of local and state initiatives to protect gays from workplace discrimination have passed at the ballot box. Congressional politicians have nothing to fear but the unrestrained bigotry of religious leaders like Pat Robertson.

While our country is caught in the middle of one of the worst unemployment crises in nearly a century, every job lost unnecessarily to bigotry is one job too many. If President Obama and leaders in Congress truly care about decreasing unemployment and keeping their campaign promises to pass ENDA, they should pass ENDA now.

If you live in a state or city with employment discrimination protections, you may think you are safe. However, there's a catch. If your employer relocates to a place without such legislation in effect, you've lost your protections. Also, if you get laid off, you may have to accept a job somewhere other than where you live. The latter is an especially important consideration in this economy.

The queer community needs to keep focusing on ENDA. The corporate media don't want to talk about it because ENDA regulates the behavior of corporations, but it is the most important piece of LGBT legislation in terms of the numbers of queers affected and the level of impact employment on peoples' lives.

Carolyn Beeler also has a commentary on the NPR website which argues that if the military ban can be lifted, then ENDA should be passed too.

Out And Equal: Move 'Don't Ask' Beyond The Military




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