Apr 18, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon


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11GOP Congressional Candidate Cresent Hardy Compares ENDA To Segregation Laws

Nevada Assemblyman Cresent Hardy, who is running for Republican state representative, says he opposes laws banning discrimination against sexual orientation in the workplace because it reminds him of racial segregation laws.

Hardy implies the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which makes discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity illegal, gives special treatment to the LGBT community.

“When we create classes, we create that same separation that we’re trying to unfold somehow,” he told the Las Vegas Sun. “By continuing to create these laws that are what I call segregation laws, it puts one class of a person over another. We are creating classes of people through these laws.”

He said he want to focus of creating better business environments.

“The greatest amount of prosperity occurs when there’s a free, open market society and there’s minimal government regulation, so with that the first thing I want to try to do is promote the opportunity for job creation or expansion,” he said. “That helps pay for the things that we want to do to take care of the nation’s most needy.”

ENDA was passed in the Senate last Fall. It extends fair-employment protection that already exists on the basis of race, religion, nationality, age, gender and disability to LGBT workers.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., made a similar argument, calling ENDA “reverse discrimination.”

Sources: ThinkProgress, Las Vegas Sun

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11California High School Football Coach Burke Wallace Fired Because He is Gay

A Livermore, California high school is getting a lot of negative attention this week after a teacher and Varsity football coach claimed he was fired from his coaching position for being gay.

According to the lawsuit against Livermore Valley Charter Prep School, Burke Wallace was fired from his position as coach after a group of supervisors overheard him mention his husband to someone during a conversation.

Wallace claims that after being fired as coach, he was forced to leave his position as English teacher due to harassment and stress.

"He was wrongfully terminated because of his sexual orientation, and the [school's] administration is responsible for that," said Wallace’s attorney John Furstenthal. "They may try to come up with all these different excuses, but I don't think they'll hold water in court." 

Reports show that Wallace is suing for discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, failure to prevent discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract.

He is seeking an undisclosed amount for damages, lost wages, and more.

This story popped up just after the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed in the Senate. ENDA will provide basic employment protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

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11Employment Non-Discrimination Act Passes Senate in Bipartisan Vote

Thursday the Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or ENDA, in a bipartisan vote for the law which is, according to POLITICO, “landmark civil rights legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT individuals in the workplace.” Joining with the Democrats were 10 Republicans, bringing the final “yes” vote to 64, more than enough to defeat a filibuster by those in the GOP opposed to the law.

Days prior, according to The Washington Post, Speaker of the House John Boehner spoke out against the legislation, which means that it is highly unlikely that he would ever bring the bill to the floor for a vote. Ironically, a less-extensive version of ENDA passed the House in 2007, but then went on to fail in the Senate. However, given the upcoming midterm elections and the fear of conservative backlash crippling the GOP caucus, there would have to be considerable pressure on the Speaker for this bill to stand for a vote, let alone be sent to the President’s desk.

The bill was first introduced in 1994 by the late Ted Kennedy with the intention to curb discrimination based on sexual orientation. This most recent version is the most expansive yet, also including protection for issues relating to gender identity along with sexual orientation.

Critics of the bill—outside of those that are morally opposed to the very groups this act protects—suggest that this will result in troubling lawsuits from employees fired for just causes who also happen to be LGBT. Still the addition of the 10 Republicans also meant that amendments were added to the bill that, in the words of Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, “moves forward in a way that works for employers as well as employees.” While the future of this particular bill is somewhat dismal, it does show promise that the “war against compromise” in the halls of Congress might be waning. 

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11Kentucky GOP Senators Attempt To Attach Anti-Union Law To Gay Rights Bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced a national right-to-work amendment to the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would prohibit labor unions from collecting dues from certain employees.

Right-to-work laws are on the books in almost half the states. They typically strip protections from workers, reducing union membership, and thus weakening a union’s bargaining power, Raw Story reported.

ENDA is meant to enforce new workplace rules to crack down on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

It was first proposed in 1994 and passed the House in 2007. It has never passed a vote in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average and employment in eastern Kentucky continues to plummet. The state’s unemployment rate is 8.4 percent, while the national average is 7.2 percent.

As the Senate is expected to debate ENDA this week, the amendment from Kentucky Republicans is expected to be blocked by Senate Democrats.

Seven Republicans joined Democrats Monday to advance the bill and overcome a filibuster.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., believes a federal law is needed “to ensure all Americans, no matter where they are, will not be afraid to go to work.”

The GOP controlled House of Representatives is less than satisfied with the bill.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said on Monday that he opposes ENDA because it would open businesses up to lawsuits.

“The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

Boehner says he believes the current laws already protect LGBT workers from discrimination in the workplace.

Sources: Raw Story, The Hill

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11John McCain Fearful ENDA Could Result In 'Busing' And 'Reverse Discrimination'

A Human Rights Campaign organizer convinced Cindy McCain to sign a petition on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which protects LGBT employees from discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Washington Post reports.

However, Cindy McCain’s husband, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) still needs to decide how he will vote to support ENDA, citing landmark civil rights legislation could lead to “busing” and “reverse discrimination” as his reason.

McCain told the Huffington Post: “Whether it imposes quotas, whether it has reverse discrimination, whether it has the kinds of provisions that really preserve equal rights for all citizens or, like for example, busing. Busing was done in the name of equality. Busing was a failure. Quotas were a failure. A lot of people thought they were solutions. They weren’t. They bred problems.”

McCain added that others, specifically young people, have the same opinion as him.

“I think the young people know we do not need reverse discrimination, they don’t believe in quotas and they don't believe in some of the programs we saw in the name of racial equality implemented in the past which turned out to be counterproductive,” he said.

Tico Almeid, founder and president of Freedom to Work, told the Huffington Post that ENDA bans quotas in particular. He said his group already discussed the legislation with McCain’s office and a follow-up meeting will be held sometime this week, where they will call attention to the section of the law that bans quotas.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that the Senate will bring ENDA up for a vote during the current work period, which ends the week before Thanksgiving.

Currently, ENDA has 56 supporters in the Senate, and Senator-elect Cory Booker (D-N.J.) will make 57 once he takes office this week, putting it just below the 60-vote threshold needed to clear the Senate.

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11Senate Committee Advances The Employment Non-Discrimination Act

A senate committee Wednesday advanced the latest version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits business from discriminating against potential employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill was passed 15-7 by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, or HELP. The measure had the support of all 12 Democrats and three Republicans: Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

Prior to the vote, HELP chair Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said it was “time, long past time” to take a stand against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace discrimination.

“Qualified workers should not be turned away or have to fear losing their livelihood for reasons that have nothing to do with their qualifications, skills or performance,” Harkin said. “Let’s not mince words — such practices are un-American. They should have no plans in any American workplace.”

“I appreciate that the authors of the bill were willing to include a robust religious exemption in this bill,” Hatch said in a statement to the Washington Blade. “I voted for it because it prohibits discrimination that should not occur in the workplace, it protects the rights of religious entities and it minimizes legal burdens on employers.”

Murkowski said, “discrimination should never be tolerated in the workplace,” but also said the bill could be improved.

It “might be in order in the form of floor amendments,” she said.

President Barack Obama was happy to see the bill gain bipartisan support.

“The president has long supported an inclusive ENDA, which would enshrine into law strong, lasting and comprehensive protections against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in a statement. “We look forward to the full Senate’s consideration of ENDA, and continue to urge the House to move forward on this bill that upholds America’s core values of fairness and equality.”

“As you saw, we had some very key Republicans on the committee, and that will be very helpful,” Harkin said. “As I said, I think society is there, and the things that have recently happened with the Supreme Court decision and others, I think we’re ready to move on in a way that we haven’t been ready move on in the past. Keep your fingers crossed.”

Sources: Washington Blade, Huffington Post

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11Rep. Louie Gohmert Suggests Gays Should Hide Their Sexual Orientation at Work

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, thinks people should keep their sexual orientation to themselves in the workplace. The Tea Party congressman suggested to ThinkProgress that gays and lesbians who feel they are discriminated against in the workplace are to blame for letting others know their sexuality in the first place.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity, now has majority support in the Senate. When ThinkProgress asked Gohmert about ENDA, he said he did not know the bill.

“It would protect LGBT workers from being fired due to their sexual orientation,” a ThinkProgress reporter explained.

“Who wants to go talking about sexual orientation when they’re working? Good grief,” Gohmert responded.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., became the 51st and 52nd cosponsors for ENDA on Tuesday.

"No one should face discrimination in their workplace based on sexual orientation," Reid said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "It’s time to make fairness the law of the land. That is why I am co-sponsoring this legislation and I will do everything I can to ensure that it passes the Senate."

Sources: ThinkProgress, Huffington Post

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