For more than a year, President Barack Obama has been a staunch supporter of marriage equality. Now he’s focusing his sights on providing wide spread legal protection and rights to the LGBT community. Last night, Obama took on the role of blogger for the Huffington Post and wrote a letter supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a measure which would protect gay and transgender employees from discrimination on the basis of their orientation or gender identity. It goes up for a vote in the Senate Monday night.
“Millions of LGBT Americans go to work every day fearing that, without any warning, they could lose their jobs — not because of anything they’ve done, but simply because of who they are,” wrote Obama regarding the many states in which it’s legal to fire an employee for being LGBT. “It’s offensive. It’s wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense.”
Obama presents the case that most Americans support the idea of equal protection and rights for LGBT people, which is a notion supported by the Washington Post.
“That’s why Congress needs to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA, which would provide strong federal protections against discrimination, making it explicitly illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This bill has strong bipartisan support and the support of a vast majority of Americans. It ought to be the law of the land,” said Obama.
“Does it make a difference if the firefighter who rescues you is gay — or the accountant who does your taxes, or the mechanic who fixes your car?” the president asks.
President Obama goes on to list the advancements the nation has made when it comes to the LGBT community, but he notes that America still has a long way to go when it comes to reaching true equality.
“America is at a turning point. We’re not only becoming more accepting and loving as a people, we’re becoming more just as a nation. We still have a way to go before our laws are equal to our Founding ideals. As I said in my second inaugural address, our nation’s journey toward equality is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
In America of all places, people should be judged on the merits: on the contributions they make in their workplaces and communities, and on what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the content of their character.” That’s what ENDA helps us do. When Congress passes it, I will sign it into law, and our nation will be fairer and stronger for generations to come.”
President Obama’s words are certainly appreciated on our end and we hope that the measure does pass in the Senate, where there is Bipartisan support and in the House, where the outcome is less certain. – nicholas robinson