As lawmakers in Washington prepare to take up a federal ban on workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, my latest column for The Washington Post explores public support and understanding of such a measure.

With seven Republican senators and all 55 Democratic senators publicly on board, it now seems likely that the Senate will debate and vote this week on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would ban employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. If the bill moves forward, it would represent the newest effort since the 1970s to address the issue and the first time since 1996 that the Senate has given the legislation an up-or-down vote.

Although you would not guess it by the tepid support among most Republican senators, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans support workplace protections for gay and lesbian Americans. Among younger Americans, a group Republicans candidates have struggled to attract, support rises to 81 percent. And most striking is this: majorities of both Republicans (60 percent) and Democrats (80 percent) as well as majorities of every major religious group, including six-in-ten (59 percent) white evangelical Protestants, favor workplace protections for gay and lesbian people.

Be sure to check out the full article over at Figuring Faith, my blog at The Washington Post.

1 Comment

  1. People who are Straight (i.e. heterosexual) have never had to worry about being fired from their jobs, kicked out of their rental properties, turned away from businesses, targeted with vandalism or violence, or denied the right to marry the person they love solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. Is it really asking too much that Gay people ought not to have to worry about such things either?

    Of course, the common response I hear is something like, “Gay people wouldn’t HAVE to worry, as long as they keep it to themselves!” This prompts me to ask Straight people the following: “Do your friends, family members, and co-workers know that you are Straight? If so, HOW? Do you talk about your spouse or your children? Have you ever kept photos of them on your desk at work? Is innocuous office conversation about one’s home life pretty much par for the course? If so, why should it be any different for people who are Gay?”

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