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Time to End Anti-Gay Discrimination, Says Connecticut Rights Group



June 1, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn. - Recent actions by Congress to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell so that gay and lesbian people can serve openly in the military have been widely reported. However, another bill dealing with their civil rights more broadly is languishing in Congress.

Linda Estabrook, executive director of the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, says her group supports the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

"To have these people constantly live with the fear that somebody's going to find out, and then they're going to lose their life and their livelihood as they currently understand it -- that's not a good way to live."

Excluding a whole group of people who are qualified and want to serve their country is ridiculous, she adds.

Her organization also supports ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, she says. It would ban discrimination against gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and transgender people (those who identify as a different gender than their birth gender).

She says a sticking point in Congress has been whether to include transgender persons in the statute; she contends they should be.

"Allowing discrimination against any members of our community is unacceptable and inappropriate."

Estabrook says some organizations are opposed to the legislation.

"They try to make gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals out to be some type of abhorrent group of people, and say we shouldn't have rights to have jobs and security in employment."

Currently, in 30 states it's legal to fire someone because they are lesbian or gay; and in 39 states, transgender people can be legally fired.

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT