Monday, October 28, 2013

The Golden Opportunity Presented

Last week, we lamented the failure of this G-O-TEA plagued 113th Congress to accomplish anything other than the usual and unnecessary manufactured crises. But now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) is making another effort to break past the gridlock and accomplish something. And here's where it gets really interesting.

Remember ENDA (or the Employment Nondiscrimination Act)? Senator Reid does. This past May, he made a personal revelation when he spoke of the need to finally pass federal legislation to curb workplace discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. And now, Senator Reid is matching his words with action.

Gays and lesbians should not be fired from their jobs just for being themselves. Senate will soon work to #PassENDA.

Earlier today, Senator Reid announced that ENDA will finally get a Senate vote late next month. Congress took on this bill before (in 2007 and 2010), but this time it looks like a solid bipartisan majority has emerged in the Senate. After all, 2 of the current 54 Senate cosponsors are Republicans (Susan Collins [R-Maine] and Mark Kirk [R-Illinois]). And conservative pro-equality groups are promising an aggressive lobbying effort to win over more Republicans, such as Senator Dean Heller (R).

This really shouldn't be a difficult choice. After all, happy and fear free workers make better workers. This is why 16 states (including Nevada) have already passed comprehensive ENDAs, and why nearly all the Top 50 Fortune 500 companies have already banned anti-LGBTQ discrimination in their respective workplaces.

So equal rights at work is the right thing to do as well as good for the bottom line. So why is it so difficult for this to become federal law? Sadly, the G-O-TEA Crazy Caucus cares more about impractical ideology than lucrative & innovative policies. And as we've seen all too often in the (112th &) 113th Congress, Republican "leaders" tend to coddle the crazy rather than curb it.

But now, they have another chance to prove they can drop the "Culture War" nonsense and move into the 21st Century. Will Republicans take this golden opportunity Senator Reid is giving them? Or will they just screw up on both this and comprehensive immigration reform (CIR)?

It's up to Congressional Republicans now. Will they seize golden opportunities like ENDA & CIR? Or are they willing to throw their own party into the demographic dustbin of history just to hurt people for a few more years?

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