ENDA progress making LGBT history… while networks ignore it

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The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would add gender identity and sexual orientation as classes to be protected against employment discrimination, passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in a vote of 15-7 on July 10—and certain news networks are completely ignoring it in favor of covering everything they can about the newest member of the royal family, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s soon to be born baby.

Hold on, I thought we weren’t part of England anymore…

ENDA has come up before; in 2007, it passed the House with a vote of 235 – 184, but failed to pass the Senate. It has now been reintroduced with much more support than seen in the past, and its progress on July 10 was a historic milestone for the bill and for LGBT rights.

A spokesman for the senator that introduced the bill, Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), said, “Support for ENDA is growing. It has more cosponsors than ever before, and senators who have never co-sponsored before are signing on this time around. The time is now for the Senate to end LGBT employment discrimination,” according to the Huffington Post.

In 17 years of trying, this is the furthest ENDA has ever advanced in the Senate, as most news sources noted: see the coverage by the Huffington Post, the Washington Blade, Mother Jones.

In contrast, according to Equality Matters, between June 30 and July 13, the days leading up to and following the vote on ENDA, neither Fox News nor CNN devoted any time whatsoever to the issue, but did have multiple segments regarding the “Royal Baby Watch.” Of the cable news networks, only MCNBC reported on ENDA’s progress during that period.

Freelance artist/photographer John M. said, “Amazing that Fox News would care so much about a single baby rather than the triumphs of humanity for civil rights. Better would be coverage of the gay marriage bills that just passed IN BRITAIN!”

What makes all the disregard for this issue especially concerning is how little the general public knows about it; a poll from the Center for American Progress showed that most Americans “strongly support” nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people in the workplace, and research shows that this population especially needs it.

However… the survey also showed that nine out of ten voters falsely believe that federal law already protects LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace.

The way America’s legal system is supposed to work, at least in theory, is by allowing the majority to dictate the law of the land—within limits. But how does that work for passing a law most people believe is already in place… when the news networks don’t care enough to tell them otherwise?

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Just another multi-disciplinary writer and bundle of contradictions trying to figure out how to get the most out of life, and make a living while I’m at it.

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