FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2009
CONTACT: Vaishalee Raja, Equality California
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CONTACT: Kristina Wertz, Transgender Law Center
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Senator DeSaulnier Introduces Measure to Put California Senate on Record in Favor of ENDA
Equality California-sponsored resolution calls on Congress and President to pass, sign into law federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act
Sacramento - Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) introduced SR 27, a resolution calling on Congress to pass and for President Obama to immediately sign into law the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which extends federal employment laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The measure, sponsored by Equality California (EQCA), would put the California State Senate on record in support of updating federal laws to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals from discrimination in the workplace.
"Too often we see LGBT individuals encounter discrimination in the workplace because federal laws fail to explicitly protect employment rights of all people in the United States," said Geoff Kors, Executive Director of EQCA. "EQCA has always supported a fully inclusive ENDA and opposed efforts in the last congressional session to strip the bill of protections for transgender people. We call on Congress and President Obama to pass and immediately sign into law a fully inclusive ENDA so that all workers are equally protected under the law."
Federal employment laws currently prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, military service and genetic information. The ENDA would extend the same protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
We commend California's lawmakers for continuing to show leadership when it comes to basic rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people," said Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center. "Californians are already protected from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This resolution gives California the chance to go on record as supporting that same protection across the country. We regularly hear from transgender people who live in states without protective laws who have been fired simply because of who they are. It's time for all Americans to be treated fairly in the workplace."
While the federal government has protected federal employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, the law does not regulate discrimination against employees of private employers, employment agencies, and labor unions. California is one of only 12 states that currently have the requisite protections in place to shield individuals from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in both the private and public sectors. Nineteen states fail to address the matter entirely.
"Americans believe in providing equal employment opportunities to all LGBT people," said Sen. DeSaulnier. "In California, we worked industriously to guarantee equal employment opportunities to all Californians by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Now we must extend the same basic protection under federal law."
Sen. DeSaulnier is the Chair of the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.
To find out more information about EQCA's legislation, visit http://www.eqca.org/legislation.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. In the past decade, EQCA has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil-rights protections in the nation. EQCA has passed over 50 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org