Employment Non-Discrimination Act
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a proposed U.S. law in the U.S. Congress. If voted into law, it would stop an employer from firing an employee because he or she is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The law would not apply to churches and other religious organizations. It is also known as H.R. 2015. It was introduced on April 24, 2007.
The first proposed law to protect gay workers was introduced in the U.S. Congress in 1974, but none were voted into law. In 1996, the proposed law failed in the Senate by one vote. This is the first time a law has included "gender identity" in addition to "sexual orientation".
Currently, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin have state laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
This is intended to address cases where gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender ("GLBT") employees have been discriminated against by their employer because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These employees are not currently protected by the U.S. federal courts.
Opponents of the law often argue that sexual orientation and gender identity are a choice, unlike other protected factors such as gender, race and religion, and thus should not be equally protected. They also often argue that homosexuality is "unnatural" or "immoral". They also often present religious arguments against the law.
Previous bills have not included transgender people. The new bill would protect transgender people, and its inclusion has been debated in the GLBT community. In August 2004, the Human Rights Campaign – an important LGBT organization in favor of the bill – said it will only support the bill if it includes transgender people.
In 1999, the [ngltf.org National Gay and Lesbian Task Force] was the first gay civil rights group to stop work on ENDA because it did not include transgender people. The group has worked to build approval in the community to support a bill that includes transgender people. It participated in redrafting the current "trans-inclusive" bill.