Coffman Signs On: ENDA Gains One New GOP Co-Sponsor
The Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA), currently stalled in the Republican lead House of Representatives due to lack of support by Speaker John Boehner and GOP lawmakers, gained a new ally Wednesday when Colorado Repubican Rep. Mike Coffman announced his support for the legislation. He is the latest house Republican to voice his support for the bill POLITICO reports.
"I see this legislation as the workplace equivalent of the Golden Rule - do unto others, as you would have them do unto you," Coffman said in a statement to POLITICO. "In the workplace, in 2014, we should judge employees the way we would want to be judged - based on our qualifications, our contributions and by our character, period."
ENDA, which would ban discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender employees passed the Senate in 2013. The 64-32 vote marked the first time voted to approve legislation to advance gay rights since the 2010 repeal of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" ban on openly openly gay and lesbian members in the armed forces. A House version of the bill has faced an uphill battle with little support from Republicans.
The Washington Post reports that House Speaker, John Boehner (R-OH) has gone on the record saying that he would not bring the bill to vote in 2014. According to Boehner and his GOP lieutenants the measure is too broad and is unnecessary; they think that the people ENDA is intended to protect are already covered under existing federal, state and private workplace protection laws.
Coffman adds his voice to 202 existing co-sponsors of the bill, 196 of which are Democrats. Republican lawmakers co-sponsoring the bill with Coffman include Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Charles Dent (R-Pa.), Jon Runyan (R-N.J.) and Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) and Michael Grimm (R-NY)
There are currently 233 Republican and 199 Democratic members of the House of Representatives.
In March, 2014, 149 members of the House and 48 senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to sign an executive order that would extend ENDA protections to federal contractors. According to a report from the Williams Institute of UCLA, such an order could provide gender orientation discrimination protection for as many as 16 million workers who currently aren't protected.
Note: Based on information obtained elsewhere, an earlier version of this article inaccurately stated that Congressman Jim Gerlach, R-PA, was a "co-sponsor" of ENDA. Congressman Gerlach's office contacted EDGE to request a correction. Congressman Gerlach is not, at this time, a "co-sponsor" of the bill.