President Obama has indicated his clear support for the ENDA, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, neither the House nor the Senate will take up the legislation until after the New Year. This delay has upset some of the bill’s most vocal supporters. The Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT rights groups recently issued a statement that “[p]assing basic job protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people must happen now.”
Whether the bill will pass — and how quickly — seems to be an open question. Many, including Representative Barney Frank, a chief sponsor of the bill, continue to be optimistic and expect the ENDA to become law in early 2010. But others are concerned with the strong opposition from conservative members of the House and Senate, and anticipate it stands a good chance of ultimately defeating the passage of the ENDA.
For now, employers can either move ahead in adopting policies consistent with the ENDA, or else adopt a wait-and-see attitude towards any policy revisions. (We recommend the former). Employers should also check local and state laws to ensure their policies are up-to-date and compliant. (See our prior blogs on this issue, 5.19.09, 10.1.09, and 12.2.09).