November 07, 2013

Wyden Applauds Senate Passage of ENDA

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden applauded Senate passage of new workplace protections, and congratulated U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley for successfully shepherding the non-discrimination legislation through the Senate. 

Today, the Senate voted 64 to 32 to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with Wyden voting in favor. ENDA would prohibit employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against those employed or seeking employment, on the basis of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.  Such protections are already in place to prohibit workplace discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability.

“It’s time for the federal standard to match what Oregonians have come to expect – that everyone deserves equal protection at work,” Wyden said. “It’s wrong that employers in most states can fire or refuse to hire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and this bill will help bring that discrimination to an end. It is a needed step toward recognizing that employment decisions should be made on the basis of an individual’s ability to perform a job, not on their gender identity or who they choose to love.”

Wyden has long been a supporter of equal rights for LGBT individuals and their families. He was one of only 14 senators to vote against DOMA in 1996.

Wyden also said he was proud that a fellow Oregonian, Merkley, was the lead sponsor of ENDA. Merkley championed a similar non-discrimination bill in Oregon as a lawmaker in the state House, as well as legislation enacting domestic partnerships in Oregon.