The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is set to pass in Congress within the next few weeks, without the support of many human-rights organizations. The bill would include sexual orientation in federal workplace anti-discrimination laws and be a landmark in gaining federally recognized coverage for gays and lesbians in the workplace. Gay rights activists have loudly voiced their opposition to the bill, which recently erased gender identity protection in order to gain a broader spectrum of support.
Human rights organizations say that the noninclusion of gender expression is detrimental in trying to gain federal protection for the GLBTA community. They are right to push for equality for all Americans, but should not oppose a bill that looks to gain ground for gays and lesbians in the workplace. Legislation and change come slowly in our country, especially when it comes to sexual orientation. The bill has been in the works for 30 years, and it has been stamped out several times along the way. It is finally in a position to pass under the Democratic majority.
Legislation is a game that requires intelligent tactics to win. Watering down the bill is one of those tactics that seems to be imperative for the United States to finally join most Western countries in protecting homosexual citizens.
Discrimination in any form is unacceptable, but opposing the bill would severely hurt the homosexual community as it looks to gain government recognized rights. The all or nothing attitude of many GLBTA organizations hinders the very people it aims to protect.
It seems as though GLBTA organizations are spread too thin in campaigning for rights of such a broad spectrum of people. Protection for all of these community members seems to come in steps, and we should take these steps as they come. Opposing a bill that would be a landmark in U.S. civil rights history if it were to pass hurts the gay and lesbian community. The gay and lesbian community should show its support for the transgender community, but not limit their rights because of it.