The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a proposed U.S. federal law that would prohibit discrimination against employees by their employers on the basis of sexual orientation. Currently, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin have state laws that prohibit such discrimination.
Proponents of the law intend it to address cases where homosexual employees have been fired from their jobs on the basis of their sexual orientation and were unable to find protection in the judicial system, due to sexual orientation not currently being recognized under federal law as protected.
Opponents of the law often argue that sexual orientation is a choice, unlike other protected factors such as gender and race, and thus should not be equally protected. They also often argue that homosexuality is "unnatural" or "immoral". They also often present religious arguments against the law. Proponents of the law respond by arguing that sexual orientation is not a choice, and that religion should not be a factor in law due to the First Amendment.
The law does not currently contain provisions that protect transgendered and intersexed individuals from discrimination, although many argue that it should. Notably, U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry has expressed the opinion that it would be preferable to push for the passing of ENDA in its current form rather than passing a modified form that also protects the transgendered. In August 2004, the Human Rights Campaign – an LGBT organization that is among the primary lobbyists for the bill – announced that it would only support passage of ENDA if it included transgender protections as well.
- Website of a group that endorses ENDA (http://www.hrc.org/Content/NavigationMenu/HRC/Get_Informed/Federal_Legislation/Employment_Non-Discrimination_Act/Quick_Facts2/ENDA_Quick_Facts.htm)
- A pro-ENDA examination of the bill (http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/enda.html)
- An article regarding adding transgender protections to ENDA (http://www.tgcrossroads.org/news/?aid=740)
- Perspective of the American Family Association, opposed to ENDA (http://www.infostew.com/hot_topics/_topics/00000028.htm)