Yesterday, The Bilerico Project asked people to bombard House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office with requests to more forward on House Resolution 3017 (aka. HR 3017 or ENDA). This bill would effectively end workplace discrimination of gays and lesbians. Representative Barney Frank introduced the bill last year and has been introducing such legislation since 1994. The bill uses language to end workplace discrimination based on:
- Sexual Orientation – defined in the bill as “homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.”
- Gender Identity – “means the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”
The law, if enacted, would extend the federal guarantees that are afforded to people on the basis of race, religion, creed, sex, etc. It is time that these basic civil rights are afforded to LGBT individuals.
For too long we have complacent in thinking that we would be safe from being fired or offered a job because we are gay. In this day of LinkedIn, facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. we are making ourselves easy targets for employers or potential employers to discover our sexual orientation or gender identity. I equate this to displaying a rainbow flag tattoo on a visible spot on our bodies.
I for one am one to not hide who I am. But I do firewall my personal and work lives. LinkedIn and my gmail account are for work professional purposes only and everything else is personal. Just a simple Google search will find out that I am gay.
Why does this matter? Some people are afraid of gay people because they do not know us. Others are outwardly homophobic because they are protecting their true homosexuality. Still others are just racist and/or ignorant bastards. Did I mention that many also use their political party or religious affiliation to justify their homophobia?
Enough of that. There is one thing you must know about the bill. The least reported facts are what workplaces are included and excluded from following this potential law. This law would not pertain to uncompensated volunteers.
Organizations which must follow the law.
- Private companies with 15 or more employees.
- Federal and State governments.
- Some non-profit organizations (namely, labor organizations).
- Any company that must adhere to a certain parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Presidential appointees.
Organizations exempt from the law.
- Non-profit, 501(c)(3) religious institutions.
- Any “corporation, association, educational institution, or society” that is exempt under the religious discrimination provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Any of the Armed Forces such as the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (due to “don’t ask, don’t tell”).
- Private clubs such as the Boy Scouts of America as decided by the Supreme Court.
The law provides several protections based on sexual orientation or sexual identity. Check out the law for a comprehensive list. In short, we need to pound Pelosi to have her get this resolution to the floor of the House for a vote. It is my understanding that there was a sit-in yesterday outside her offices. Good work ladies and gentlemen!