From The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/05/employment-non-discrimination-act-falls-short
Everyone from Apple’s Tim Cook to US politicians is trying to get on the LGBT ‘bandwagon’, but workplace issues remain for gays
theguardian.com, Tuesday 5 November 2013
Caveat emptor: when it comes to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (Enda), let the buyer beware. There’s plenty of ballyhooing in the mainstream mostly straight press about what an unmitigated success it is for LGBT rights that the bill will be discussed in the US Senate this week. (It cleared a key test vote Monday night, 61 to 30, with the support of every member of the Democratic caucus and some Republicans.) Even the Wall Street Journal, which has never been accused of being an organ for the liberal media, ran an opinion piece by Apple CEO Tim Cook on how equality benefits the workplace. But on closer inspection, neither Cook’s support nor the Senate’s is quite what it seems.
First, a quick primer on Enda, which has been languishing in Congress since 1994, despite the fact that even polls taken that year showed 62% of Americans support passage of laws to protect “homosexuals” from job discrimination. As Tico Almeida, president of the LGBT organization Freedom to Work, points out:
One of our biggest Enda hurdles is the fact that 90% of Americans mistakenly believe Enda has already become law.
But the fact is that as of now only 17 states and the District of Columbia have statutes that protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment in public and private sectors. To put that another way, we’re now living in a country where it’s legal to marry your same-sex partner in 14 states and enjoy federal benefits, but that you can still be fired for having your spouse’s picture on your desk in 33.
There are a number of reasons why Enda has become a priority for the Senate now. These include the fact that there’s little political risk in supporting LGBT civil rights in a post-don’t ask don’t tell and post-defense of marriage act America, but a great deal to gain from it. LGBT Americans were key to Democratic victories including the presidential election, in 2008 and 2012, as both voters and donors. Polls increasingly show that young voters of both parties overwhelmingly support full LGBT civil rights. In short, it’s a winner and a wedge issue. It’s also not going to pass. House speaker John Boehner has made his opposition clear.
Continue reading at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/05/employment-non-discrimination-act-falls-short