In his address at the Democratic convention, Barack Obama said:
Surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.
Do most Americans agree?Recent studies show that the answer appears to be yes.Surveys show that 72% of Americans support laws which prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Recent data reported by The Salt Lake Tribuneindicates that even in Utah, one of the most conservative states in the country, a majority supports expanded legal protections for gay and trans gender coupes and individuals. A poll commissioned by the Tribune of 500 registered voters found that :
56 percent of respondents favor legal protections for same-sex couples such as hospital visitation and inheritance rights and employment protections
The Equality Utah poll of 600 Utahns, also reported in the Tribune at the end of January, found:
62% supported making it illegal to fire workers because of sexual orientation
56.5 supported making it illegal to deny housing because of sexual orientation
63% favored providing gay and lesbian couples with hospital visitation, health insurance, and inheritance rights
Unfortunately, even though anti-discrimination laws have broad support, only 20 states have such laws in effect. That leaves most gay individuals vulnerable to lawful discrimination.In other words, just to be clear, this means that an individual can be firedbecause an employer finds out he is gay and chooses to fire him for that reason.It also means than an employer can lawfully maintain a policy of not hiring gays or lesbians.
It’s about time that the Congress get in line with the majority view of this country and pass legislation prohibiting discrimination against the gay, lesbian, and transgender community who are certainly entitled to equal opportunity just like other Americans. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act should be passed.
Of Counsel to McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., L.P.A.
101 West Prospect Ave. Suite 1800
Employment lawyer, attorney & consultant Ellen Simon offers services in such areas as employee rights, civil rights, employment discrimination, workplace harassment, racial harassment, gender & disability discrimination and retaliation. Please do not send original documents to us without prior approval. Member of Ohio and Arizona Bar, advice on federal law only outside of Ohio and Arizona.