House Speaker John Boehner on ENDA: “People are already protected in the workplace”


On November 7, the Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), 64-32. But despite the bill’s most recent success in a two-decade battle, House Speaker John Boehner is holding tight to his opposition for a vote, announcing on Thursday, November 14, that he believes it to be “unnecessary.”

His reasoning? He says there’s already litigation that prevents people from being fired on the basis of sexual orientation. But it seems Mr. Boehner, along with 69 percent of the American population, is more than a tad misinformed.

Without ENDA, there are still twenty-nine states without any laws that specifically protect the rights of lesbian and gay workers, and thirty-three states without protections for transgender workers. So despite Boehner’s reassurance that LGBT Americans in those states have nothing to worry about, it is still legal to fire someone based solely on orientation or gender presentation in those states.


I am opposed to discrimination of any kind—in the workplace and any place else. But I think this legislation…is unnecessary and would provide a basis for frivolous lawsuits. People are already protected in the workplace…I am opposed to continuing this.

Listen, I understand people have different opinions on this issue, and I respect those opinions. But as someone who has worked in this employment law area for all of my years in the statehouse and all of my years here, I see no basis or no need for this.

The passage of ENDA would ensure that LGBT Americans are protected on a nationwide level. On November 6, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told ThinkProgress that if Boehner allowed a vote, the bill would have easily passed.


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