Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gays and Lesbians Deserve the Right to Work

For too long, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act has sat around Capitol Hill getting dusty. It looks like it may actually have a chance at passing. That is, if the Democratic Leadership will stand up for what is right. And if Republicans will stop playing politics with basic rights.

The idea that someone can be fired simply because of their sexual orientation is appalling. Yet, Congress is slow to prohibit such blatant discrimination. Why?

Democrats in Congress need to grow a spine. Just because the word "gay" is involved doesn't give you a license to whine about the voters in your District. If you can't sell the idea that all Americans deserve a fair shot at making a living, then you don't belong in Congress.

Republicans in Congress need to view this issue through the lens of conservatism rather than petty politics. The fundamental right to earn a living seems like a good, solid conservative idea. After all, conservatives inherently oppose "freebies" such as unemployment compensation, right? So, it would logically follow that EVERYONE have full access to the job market. Right? (no pun intended)

Gay rights groups need to stop walking soft around the halls of Congress while lobbying for ENDA. The Human Rights Campaign is dedicating much effort to this, but I'd like to see a tougher approach. It is not acceptable to give a wink and a nod to anybody on this issue or to allow people to group this with more complicated issues of the gay rights movement. The time has come to tell Congress to get the work done.

So, to the Democratic and Republican Leadership, roll up your sleeves and get it done. It's your responsibility to protect the basic rights of the American people. All of us.