The Senate passed historic gay rights legislation Thursday to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace, another victory for the gay rights movement that has been gaining favor in the courts and electoral politics.
Senators voted 64 to 32 to approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
One could ask, "What took so long?" Then again, it's better late than never.
Back in 1996 there was a bill brought to the Senate floor, very similar to ENDA. Two senators, Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) who were both serving back then, voted no. Today they voted yes.
In the words of Bob Dylan, "Times they are a changin'." At least they are for some people.
The largest battle is yet to come, the House of Representatives. Their consternation boils down to one man, Speaker and anti-gay rights activist, John Boehner. If he brings it up for a vote, it's most likely to pass. But he has already said he won't allow a vote on this issue.
Well, when you're looking for bogus excuses, John Boehner's America's man. He's never met a lie or dissemination of inaccurate information that didn't please the Boehner. The government shut down was all his doing because of his ignorance and obstinance. I'm not sure of the exact proportions of each, but they were his two major ingredients.
Boehner's pre-offered protestation number one was that giving protection to the LGBT community would cause a rush of frivolous lawsuits at a huge expense to the business community. Isn't that for the courts to decide? So Boehner's now assuming the role of Chief Justice, not just Speaker of the House.
His next foray into dissing the bill is that it's already covered under the law. Well, that's not true.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in many more aspects of the employment relationship. It applies to most employers engaged in interstate commerce with more than 15 employees, labor organizations, and employment agencies.The Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Sex includes pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
It DOES NOT PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION. Therein lies the rub and the reason for this bill. When this was pointed out to Boehner, he went to his next excuse.
He postures this law affects employment by churches and other religious organizations. Well, first off Boehner, they shouldn't be discriminating under any circumstances -- but let's give you that one. But just for a second. Okay, your second is up.
The senate added an amendment to their bill authored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). It was approved with the bill and prevents state and local governments from taking legal action against religious groups that take advantage of the bill’s religious exemption clause.
So now, it's going to be your turn, Mr. Speaker. Let's see what kind of American you are. Are you one who believes that all men are created equal and should have equal protections under the law, or are you a GOP hypocrite?