Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee secured a bipartisan vote of 15 to 7 to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the workplace:
“Today, the Senate HELP Committee took a significant step forward for civil rights, equality, and fairness by passing a fully-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. For too long, too many qualified, hardworking Americans have been denied job opportunities, fired, or otherwise discriminated against solely for who they are or who they love. In a country founded on the principles of justice and opportunity for all, it is time to reaffirm a simple principle in the workplace: Americans should be judged on performance, not prejudice.
“The need for this legislation is abundantly clear. The majority of Americans live in states that do not protect LGBT workers from serious discrimination and harassment on the job. When these Americans face bigotry at work, when their talents are squandered out of ignorance, our economy suffers. Yet when every American receives an equal opportunity to work hard and support their families, our nation prospers.
“History teaches us that progress on civil rights is never easy, and is often marked by small and difficult steps. But today, the Senate HELP Committee acted in a bipartisan way to bring us closer to fulfilling the ideal of equality, our heritage and our hope. It is time for the full Senate to follow suit, for the House to vote on this measure without further delay, and for ENDA to become the law of the land.”