Democratic Platform Draft Includes LGBT Workplace Protection

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Monday August 13, 2012

The draft of the Democratic Party's platform mentions sexual orientation and gender identify in its support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a proposed federal bill that would prohibit LGBT people from being discriminated against in the workplace.

BuzzFeed got hold of the party's draft language relating to ENDA, which states, "We know that putting America back to work is job one, and we are committed to ensuring Americans do not face employment discrimination. We support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because people should not be fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity."

The Associated Press also reported that, for the first time, the Democratic draft platform came out to support gay marriage, months after Obama announced his endorsement for marriage equality.

The 2008 Democratic platform did not include support for gay marriage and the language regarding ENDA was more vague.

"We support the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections. We will enact a comprehensive bipartisan employment non-discrimination act. We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us," the 2008 draft read.

Obama has been a longtime supporter of ENDA but was criticized for not signing an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating individuals because of sexual orientation or gender identity, EDGE reported.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told EDGE that she is hopeful ENDA will pass, but believes it is unlikely to do so this year.

"ENDA will eventually pass, [but] it has zero chance of passing this year," she said. "Everything is in our direction. People who hate us are fading away. There will be ups and downs,but LGBT people are winning across the board. There will always be bigoted businesses, people and churches. But even the number of churches that are opposed to our rights are just shriveling. More religious leaders are coming to our side, they are not our enemy. It's just a small group of people who want to hide their bigotry behind people."