TransGriot Note: One of my former colleagues in Da Ville, Nick Wilkerson, wrote this letter that was published in Sunday's Courier-Journal.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, (H.R. 3017) would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This is hardly a radical notion since already 40 percent of the U.S. population is protected from such discrimination by virtue of laws in 12 states and over 100 localities. Over a million Kentuckians are protected through local ordinances in Covington, Lexington and Louisville, thanks to the combined efforts of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, our allies (such as the Fairness Campaign) and fair-minded individuals.
However, federal legislation is still needed since those Americans who are most vulnerable to discrimination tend to reside in the states, cities and rural areas that have not enacted such laws. We have certainly found that to be true here in Kentucky. Without such protection, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers can be fired without recourse simply for who they are.
ENDA addresses many objections by exempting the armed forces, religious institutions and employers with fewer than 15 employees.
Kentuckians have consistently demonstrated that they believe in fairness. As long ago as 1999, a survey by Decision Research found that nearly 73 percent of all Kentuckians believed that this type of employment discrimination was wrong. Once again, Kentuckians demonstrated that they are "ahead" of most of their legislators in their respect for basic human rights.
ENDA currently has 202 co-sponsors in the U.S. House, including Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville. While this is a great indication of widespread support, ENDA currently is stuck in the House Education and Labor Committee.
All fair-minded Kentuckians in the 3rd District need to contact Yarmuth to thank him for his support of ENDA. Also, please urge him to add his voice to those in Congress requesting the leadership of the House to bring ENDA to a vote prior to the Memorial Day recess. Please let your voices in support of ENDA be heard now.
To learn more about ENDA, visit www.kentuckyfairness.org.
Kentucky Fairness Alliance