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ENDA advanced by the Senate

By Thomas M Lee

The Senate on November 4, 2013 advanced legislation banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity — marking a victory for gay rights supporters despite the bill’s dim House prospects. The measure , known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (S. 815) ("ENDA"), cleared a key test vote, 61 to 30.

If ENDA is signed into law, it would forbid employers with at least 15 employees from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

ENDA is modeled on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin, and color. ENDA works within the boundaries of the Civil Rights Act to protect a group of people who have been historically and are currently discriminated against

Currently, 29 states have no legislation banning employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 33 states are without gender identity employment protections. California's Fair Employment and Housing Act provides employment protections for employees who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or are males or females via transgender status. (Govt. Code §12920.)

For more information on ENDA and to track its progress, go here.

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