Activists lobbying Congress on ENDA

LGBT civil rights advocates are lobbying U.S. lawmakers and their aides Oct. 3. They are demanding passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.

“Americans believe all hardworking employees should be judged on their talents and job performance – not on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Matt McTighe, the campaign manager for Americans for Workplace Opportunity. “Lobby day will serve as a powerful reminder that the Golden Rule applies in the workplace: everyone should be treated the same – and everyone has to put food on the table. There is significant momentum - including from Fortune 500 companies and supermajorities of Republicans – to pass ENDA this year.”

ENDA would add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing employment protections for race, religion, gender and disability.

Polls show that nearly 80 percent of Americans support such protections, including 70 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of observant Christians and 72 percent of residents in the South.

Polls also show that 90 percent of Americans mistakenly think protections for LGBT employees already exist.

More than 100 major U.S. corporations – including General Mills, Bank of America, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Groupon, MillerCoors Brewing, Time Warner and US Airways – have endorsed ENDA.

The bill was backed by a Senate committee earlier this year and Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised a vote this fall.

Prospects for passage in the GOP-controlled House, however, seem unlikely without lobbyists moving some Republicans on the issue.

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