Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Rep.
Jared Polis of Colorado on Thursday reintroduced the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
The bill seeks to outlaw workplace
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of
Florida joined Polis in introducing the House version of the bill.
“Across our country, LGBT Americans
face the daily fear of losing their jobs and livelihood simply
because of who they are or who they love,” Polis said.
Ros-Lehtinen added: “No American
should have to fear harassment at work, or risk losing their
livelihood because of who they are. That is why Congress needs to
work to get this bill passed and set a national standard of equality
for all in the workplace.”
Support for the bill in the Senate is
also bipartisan and includes GOP Senators Mark Kirk of Illinois and
Susan Collins of Maine. Democrats co-sponsoring the measure include
Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Tom Harkin of Iowa.
Like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in the House,
supports marriage equality.
“Discrimination is just plain wrong,”
Merkley said. “It is shocking that there is still anywhere in
America where it is legal to fire someone for their sexual
orientation or gender identity.”
A version of ENDA was first introduced
and rejected by lawmakers in 1974. In 2007, lawmakers for the first time added
protections based on gender identity to the measure.