Tuesday, November 05, 2013
The same day that the U.S. Senate took an important step towards passage of a federal LGBT rights bill, the Speaker of the House made it clear he opposes the legislation from becoming law, provoking sharp words from the head of the largest LGBT rights group in the United States. The Senate voted 61-30 to bring ENDA to the floor, but before that happened John Boehner had his spokesperson release a statement saying "The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs." Additionally, the Speaker's office also said that "We have always believed this is covered by existing law. [This is] not a new issue or a new position -- it's a longstanding position, and, frankly, not 'news' at all. This has been his position, on the record, for years, stated publicly many times."
Chad Griffin, head of the Human Rights Campaign, reacted to the false assertion that current law already protects LGBT people from employment discrimination by saying: "The Speaker, of all people, should certainly know what it's like to go to work every day afraid of being fired. Instead of letting the far right trample him again, it's time for Speaker Boehner to stand with the majority of everyday Republican voters and support ENDA."
What the Speaker is doing is continuing to bolster the incorrect impression held by 69% of Americans that anti-LGBT discrimination is already illegal, thus decreasing the momentum to actually enact the policy into law. This is truly odious behavior by a public official, because lack of LGBT employment discrimination has actual negative impacts on actual people.
Hat/tip to Talking Points Memo