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Groups Call on Congress to End LGBT Job Discrimination

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Monday, April 26, 2010   

PHOENIX - More than 200 Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups, along with allies in the faith, labor and civil rights communities, are demanding Congress immediately outlaw job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Equality Arizona spokesman Dan Mallar says the need for protection has increased with the recession.

"We've seen in the past where companies just systematically go through, and based oftentimes just on impression, not on fact, fire folks based on what they feel is one's sexual orientation."

Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank has introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which is supported by President Obama.

Arizona currently has an executive order protecting state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, but Mallar says that's not enough. He says a federal law is needed.

"There was an executive order actually granting domestic partnerships to gay and Lesbian people. And that was taken away very, very quickly. So, executive orders can be very transient, depending on administrations."

The Obama administration is currently focusing on financial services reform and has yet to take on immigration, but Mallar says the time is right to push for LGBT job protections.

"The President's plate has been very full since the day he took office. And I believe that gay and Lesbian people have been very patient. What we do know is that there is support among the people that are in Congress today. And so it's time for action."

A dozen states currently ban both sexual orientation and gender-identity job discrimination, while nine other states outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation only. The bill before Congress would apply to companies with more than 15 workers.


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