For Immediate Release                                                                            
June 24, 2009

Contact: Adam Ratliff

(202) 467-8180, ext. 212 / aratliff@pflag.org

PFLAG Commends Lawmakers for Introduction of Inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Organization Calls for Urgently Needed Workplace Protections

Washington, DC – Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) applauded lawmakers today for introducing an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees from workplace discrimination. The bill, which enjoys bi-partisan support in Congress, would add sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to existing federal employment non-discrimination laws.

“Today’s introduction of an all-inclusive ENDA is the culmination of decades work, undertaken by PFLAG and others, to educate lawmakers about the daily reality so many LGBT Americans face in their places of employment,” said PFLAG executive director Jody M. Huckaby. “Employment should be based on who is the most qualified person for the job, and not on the personal prejudices of those who are doing the hiring. LGBT Americans, like their straight co-worker, go to work each day to contribute to their communities, support their families and keep our economy running. Neither their sexual orientation, nor their gender identity, has any impact on their job performance. Congress should recognize as much and pass this inclusive ENDA immediately.”

Currently, employers in 30 states may legally fire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and employers in 38 states may legally fire someone based on their gender identity. And, according to numerous surveys, over 60% of likely voters in the U.S. support an inclusive federal employment non-discrimination law. Polling data from 2006 shows that voters are more likely to support a candidate who votes for an LGBT discrimination law than they are to vote against.   

PFLAG pressed lawmakers to introduce an ENDA that includes gender identity and expression. The organization was the first national LGBT group to adopt a policy of only supporting transgender-inclusive legislation, and has been a key member of the United ENDA coalition, which worked with lawmakers on ensuring transgender workers were included in the legislation.

“There is no acceptable reason for leaving any workers vulnerable to workplace discrimination,” Huckaby said. “Our country has long adhered to the belief that, if we work hard and play by the rules, the promise of America can belong to everyone. An inclusive ENDA moves us closer to that ideal and would ensure that no one’s ability to earn a living is dependent on another person’s bias about who they are, or who they love.”

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PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.