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The Case Against ENDA (The Dish)

The Case Against ENDA (The Dish):

Andrew Sullivan is gay and an outspoken activist against discrimination directed at the GLBT community. Even so, he has his doubts about the future effectiveness of a new workplace anti-discrimination law. I found it interesting that one of his points is that business has moved on:

At the same time, the private sector has forged ahead of government, acting rationally to get the best set of employees possible. The Human Rights Campaign annual report (pdf) on voluntary corporate anti-discrimination policies gives us the latest: 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies have non-discrimination policies with respect to homosexuality, and 57 percent also include gender identity in their policies. The progress in the private sector over the last ten years has been remarkable, and HRC can rightly feel proud of their work engaging corporations. But that, of course, suggests that government itself may not be the best way to protect gay employees.

He also notes states that have passed similar legislation do not seem to have had a lot of litigation under these statutes.

In the end, he doesn’t object to Congress passing ENDA, he just doesn’t think it will do much.

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2 Responses

  1. The thing about legislation protecting minorities is that it isn’t going to affect majorities. It’s not about the 88% of companies that have independently adopted policies banning workplace discrimination, it’s about the 12% that haven’t.

  2. Hi John, your point is valid, and I don’t think that Andrew Sullivan would disagree with you. One his points that I found reasonable is that the State ENDA laws and federal hate crime statutes seem to be very underused. Here’s a quote from Sullivan’s entry:

    To take a similar point on the federal hate crimes law, since it was passed in 2009, there have been two successful prosecutions under the act for anti-gay bias, so far as I can find. One was in March, 2012, in Kentucky, and the second was in Georgia last June. It may well be that neither would have been pursued without the federal law, but still. If I’ve missed any, please let me know. But two successful prosecutions in four years does not suggest a problem so vast that the federal government must be involved.

    I think we can both agree that there have been far more than two hate crimes since 2009. This could be a sign that states are doing a better job or that the federal government needs to be investing more resources into hate crimes prosecution. But in either case, the federal law doesn’t seem to be having much practical effect.

    I’m not against ENDA. I believe in full equality for all people. We can pass ENDA and see what happens. It just seems like similar legislation has not had results we’d hoped for.

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