Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Ia.), chairman of the Senate’s HELP committee, released a statement today, calling workplace protections for LGBT workers a “civil right. ”

“Protections against workplace discrimination have made our country a better, fairer, and more equal place,” Harkin said. “It is time to promote workplace fairness by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and I am pleased that the HELP Committee has moved forward to eliminate such discrimination in our society by passing a bipartisan, fully-inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act. This bill renews our historical commitment to the advancement of civil rights, and to the American ideal of a meritocracy in which people are judged on their talent, ability, and qualifications—not by the color of their skin, their religion, their gender, their national origin, their age, whether they have a disability, their sexual orientation, or their gender identity.

Though the bill’s passage from the U.S. House of Representatives seems unlikely thanks to its Republican leadership, Democrats hope to keep the pressure on their Republican counterparts. Some Republicans, including high-ranking members of the Senate, have publicly endorsed gay-friendly positions in recent months.

“As we move forward on bringing ENDA to a vote before the full Senate, I urge my colleagues to do what is right—for LGBT Americans and for our economy—and pass this critical civil rights bill,” Harkin concluded.

 

Top photo: U.S. Sen. Todd Harkin (D-Ia.) (official photo via Senate.gov)

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