Our own Senator Jeff Merkley a big part of a trans-inclusive ENDA


Oregon state Sentor Jeff Merkley

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is an important bit of legislation to protect our community that let a large portion of us down when it was introduced without including transgendered individuals in its protections. The country’s largest LGBT civil right organization, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) even endorsed this failure, and there was much fuss over the whole situation.

But now we are poised on the edge of a whole new ENDA. And Oregon’s own Jeff Merkley, along with Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) are at the helm of the project.

From today’s press release:

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (OR-D), Senators Susan
Collins (ME-R), and Edward M. Kennedy (MA-D) introduced in the U.S. Senate
an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees from workplace
discrimination. The bill, which enjoys bipartisan support in Congress, would
add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing federal employment
non-discrimination laws.

“Workplace protections for LGBT people are urgently needed and long
overdue,” said Laura Calvo, President of the Democratic Party of Oregon’s
GLBT Caucus. “President Obama has said he is ready to sign this bill. All we
need now is for the Senate to act.”

Oregon is currently one of 12 states and more than 100 localities that have
LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination protections, covering nearly 40 percent of
Americans. According to numerous surveys, large majorities of likely voters
in the U.S. support federal employment non-discrimination laws to protect
LGBT people.

In 2007, while serving as Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives,
Senator Merkley was a primary supporter and key to the passage of the Oregon
Equality Act, which banned employment discrimination based on sexual
orientation. Senator Merkley continues to reflect true Oregon values in the
United States Senate for fair and equal treatment in the work place for all
LGBT Americans.

“We urge Congress to take speedy action to put this bill on the President’s
desk,” said Laura Calvo. “LGBT employees work just as hard and contribute
just as much as other workers. They should not have to fear losing their
jobs simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

4 comments to Our own Senator Jeff Merkley a big part of a trans-inclusive ENDA

  • Jordana

    I think this is a righteous fight and thought folks would be interested in this very cool event happening this Saturday, August 8.

    Public Forum
    No more singing capitalism's blues…Sisters, it's time to fight!

    Special guest speaker: Anne Slater, Radical Women firebrand & National Organizer. Slater is on a national speaking tour, mobilizing women and their allies to stand against rightwing racism, layoffs and state budget cuts. She is a member of Queer Ally Coalition, a longtime abortion clinic defender and led a community college unionization drive. She recently helped to launch Seattle's grassroots group Sisters Organize for Survival.

    Saturday, August 8, 7:00pm
    Sizzling Barbecue Buffet 6:00pm
    Door donation $2 * Dinner donation $8 (vegetarian option available)
    Sliding scale and work exchanges available for strikers and low income

    Bread & Roses Center, 819 N. Killingsworth St., Portland
    To benefit Radical Women's $45,000 Fund Drive

    For childcare or work exchanges, please call 503-240-4462 three days in advance or email

  • litchick

    That's great. I'm going to email my senators and Congressman Baird to support this. I'm thinking if this passes, it might automatically make "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" unconstitutional! The other comment on this blog above recommends a speaker on Aug. 8 that looks good too.

  • Chris

    I'm glad that it has so much support in Congress… I just wish it had a BIT more guaranteed
    support. I, too, figure it would make "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" impossible to exist, which is my
    main feeling it won't pass :^( but we've come a long way and it's support is way stronger
    than ever. It's just a matter of time. :^)
    …remember just LAST YEAR, when they wouldn't dare include gender expression? It seems
    now that it's a basic requirement in ENDA for true equality, a HELL of an improvement in just
    one year.

  • I know I am a little late in seeing this blog, but didn’t President Obama say in his speech that Don’t ask Don’t tell is going to be a thing of the past? I think it might take some time because the wheels of the military move ever so slowly, but I do think this will obviously become a thing of the past.