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ENDA, the Long and Winding Road
Abstract: Bittersweet victory for watered-down non-discrimination act.
On Wednesday, November 7, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3685, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by a vote of 235 - 184. The bill provides workplace protections for sexual orientation, but not for gender identity. The Senate has yet to take up its version of ENDA. The White House has said that senior advisors will recommend to this president that he veto any law on this subject that Congress passes.
A statement from United ENDA (a coalition of more than 350 organizations that lobbied for prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity) read in part:
We remain frustrated and disappointed that an inferior bill was brought to the floor. The stripping away of gender identity not only abandons transgender people - the most vulnerable within the LGBT community - it ignores the reality that gender identity and expression are at the root of much anti-gay discrimination.
Rep. Bella Abzug introduced the first bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual preference in 1974. ENDA is the first such bill to be brought to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote.