Editorial: A smart vote from Ayotte
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte this week announced her support for the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would outlaw workplace discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity. In doing so, she joined all the Senate Democrats and a handful of her fellow Republicans. She helped the legislation clear an initial procedural hurdle in the Senate and says she will back the measure when it comes to a final vote.
Polling indicates Ayotte’s new stance puts her in line with most of her constituents; indeed, the state has had a similar law on the books for more than a decade. But any such vote comes with some political risk for a member of a party that has stubbornly resisted the modern era when it comes to gay rights. Ayotte will no doubt take heat from conservative Republicans, some of whom are already angry over her support for immigration reform and her opposition to Sen. Ted Cruz’s government-shutdown strategy to unravel the Affordable Care Act.
Nonetheless, if Republicans care about the future of their party, they will need to join the mainstream on issues of basic fairness.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is a big step in the right direction. Ayotte deserves much credit for getting on board.