One Equal World

Is Federal Protection of LGBTs in the Workplace on the Horizon?

Posted on: October 31, 2013

LGBT workplace discrimination

The overwhelming majority of states have no laws against workplace discrimination of LGBTs.
Image: Shutterstock

Same-sex marriage victories that have been slowly cropping up around the country have cast a shadow over the deep-seated homophobia that lurks in the culture of our lawmakers and government. This is not an overly harsh assessment of the state of human rights in America, but an accurate one. What word other than ‘homophobia’ would better describe the impossibly slow crawl towards equality for LGBT people, what better word is there to describe the majority of Republicans who oppose equal rights for LGBTs?

It is the year 2013 and people can still be discriminated against in the workplace for being openly gay or lesbian, with no legal penalty to their harasser. It is the year 2013 and gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual people can be fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The message this sends to LGBTs is that they live in a country where their government doesn’t want to protect them. It is a disturbing reality for far too many people.

According to the Human Rights Campaign,

“Qualified, hardworking Americans are denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise discriminated against just because they are lesbian, gay bisexual or transgender. There is no federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination…As a result, LGBT people face serious discrimination in employment, including being fired, being denied a promotion and experiencing harassment on the job.”

This very issue is an incredibly hot button topic in Washington right now, where “legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is on the cusp of securing a filibuster-crushing supermajority of 60 senators,” reports David Hawkings. He goes on to detail how Four Republicans have announced their support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, along with 51 of the current Democrats.” This is not the first time that Republicans have “crossed over” politically to support Democratic initiatives; political strategist Kenneth Mehlman is a shining example of how a conservative Republican can still prioritize LGBT rights.

We may have a government that operates in a bipartisan fashion, but Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on basic human rights. With more Republicans crossing over to support traditionally Democratic issues, hopefully the day where human equality will be paramount in all legislative measures will come soon.

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