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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

Pocan Applauds Senate Passage of ENDA & Calls on Speaker Boehner to Bring Bill Up for a Vote

Nov 7, 2013
Press Release

MADISON, WI—U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) today applauded the U.S. Senate on its bipartisan passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and called on Speaker Boehner to bring the commonsense legislation up for a vote in the House. ENDA would extend federal employment discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Pocan is an original co-sponsor of the House version of ENDA, which is currently supported by 196 bipartisan members of Congress.

“I congratulate the Senate for confirming our country’s commitment to respecting the rights and liberties of all Americans, regardless of who they love,” said Pocan, co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the bill. “The basic principles of ENDA are so fundamental that 80 percent of Americans already believe it is law, and the Senate today has moved us one step closer to making that a reality. Speaker Boehner now has a choice—stand behind frivolous excuses and remain on the wrong side of history, or join with the majority of the American people and honor the equality deserved by all Americans.”

Earlier this week, Speaker Boehner said he believed that ENDA would “increase frivolous litigation.” But a report this summer from the Government Accountability Office on the 21 states and D.C. that already bar workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation found “relatively few employment discrimination complaints based on sexual orientation and gender identity”—between 3-4 percent of the total number of employment discrimination claims.

Despite the fact that a majority of Americans—including 56 percent of Republicans—and Fortune 500 companies support workplace protections for LGBT employees,  currently only 17 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, while an additional four prohibit employment discrimination based only on sexual orientation. According to a study from Pew Research, one of every five LGBT employees faces discrimination in their work environment because of their sexual orientation or gender indemnity.