Friday, November 9, 2007

Roskam's vote on Employment Non-discrimination

It's absolutely no surprise, but Peter Roskam voted on Wednesday against ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act). This bill passed in the House, but not with a veto-override margin, and is most likely to be vetoed by President Bush. This bill, if it were to become law, would make it illegal to consider sexual orientation (meaning, gay, lesbian or bisexual; the transgendered community was left out of this bill) for hiring or firing purposes. Many states already have protective laws in place, as do many cities, but Peter, with this vote, is obviously fine with the idea that people can be fired for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

I'm sure some of the arguments will be that this will infringe on the rights of faith-based organizations that have strong statements about homosexuality to have to go against their beliefs. To be honest, if a gay or lesbian person wants to work in that environment anyway, have at it. I worked for 7 years with such an organization - a Catholic organization - that tried to have it both ways. It can be dreadful, patronizing, and dehumanizing; the harm is not to the integrity of the organization, but to the individual.

Once again, Peter is also somewhat alone in our region; Biggert and Kirk voted for the legislation (Hastert, in one of his rare recent votes, voted against it as well).

So, when it comes to issues that have to do with basic rights (the "special rights" argument is really hollow), a big question is whether we will have options in the next election).