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Ayotte, Shaheen back ban on employer discrimination against gays, transgender people

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2013, file photo Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., questions President Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., during his Capitol Hill confirmation hearing. Ayotte and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, voted yesterday, Nov. 4, 2013, to support a federal ban on workplace discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity.  (AP File Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2013, file photo Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., questions President Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., during his Capitol Hill confirmation hearing. Ayotte and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, voted yesterday, Nov. 4, 2013, to support a federal ban on workplace discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity. (AP File Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Both of New Hampshire’s U.S. senators – Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Kelly Ayotte – voted yesterday to support a federal ban on workplace discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Ayotte remained uncommitted on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act until last night, when she and six other Republicans helped the Democratic-backed bill clear an initial procedural hurdle in the Senate.

Sixty votes were needed to proceed to debate and an eventual vote on the bill. It got 61.

“Sen. Ayotte believes that people in the workplace should be judged based on their qualifications and performance. She believes that discrimination has no place in the workplace and she supports ENDA,” said spokesman Jeff Grappone in a statement.

Grappone said Ayotte does hope to improve the bill’s exemption for religious groups.

“She believes that the protections for religious organizations in the bill are very important, and she will strengthen those protections by offering a bipartisan amendment to ensure that religious organizations can’t be retaliated against for exercising their religious freedoms,” he said.

Shaheen is one of the legislation’s co-sponsors.

“No one should have to worry about their job because of who they are and who they love,” Shaheen said in a statement. “We ought to extend workplace protections for LGBT Americans in the interest of fairness and equality and hopefully, with the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, we can finally end this type of discrimination.”

The bill appears likely to pass the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority, later this week. But it faces long odds in the Republican-led House.

In New Hampshire, state law since 1998 has banned workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The state anti-discrimination law doesn’t mention gender identity.

Shaheen’s vote puts her in sync on the issue with one of the Republicans running against her in 2014: Jim Rubens, an Etna Republican and former state senator.

“For me, it’s pretty clear-cut: We are protecting people from workplace discrimination as a result of inborn traits, very, very similar to race, national origin and gender,” Rubens said yesterday. “There is very, very strong agreement among Americans that you should not have discrimination on the basis of race and gender, for example, and I believe this bill provides the same protection under the law for another class of persons.”

Karen Testerman, a conservative activist from Franklin who also is running for the Senate next year, said she opposes ENDA. She called it an issue for the states, citing the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“New Hampshire already has laws addressing discrimination. Are we not complying with those laws? If not, the problem is enforcement of state law,” Testerman said in a message. “That being said this really is a state issue.”

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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Monday, November 4, 2013

The Senate moved closer to passing a historic piece of legislation yesterday that would ban discrimination against gay workers, signaling a dramatic shift in political attitudes on the issue. Seven Republicans joined 54 members of the Democratic caucus in voting to formally begin considering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The 61 to 30 margin virtually guarantees its passage this week. It …

Legacy Comments11

another in the log line of democrat lgislation in their WAR on RELIGION

You're hopeless. But just in case anyone else out there can be reached I will just say: Freedom of religion means that you can follow any faith you wish but you are not allowed to force others to comply with your religion's rules. You are not allowed to subject others to discrimination when the ONLY reason for your discrimination is a religious one.

Fortunately the Supreme Court disagrees with you.

Yeah right. The Supreme Court has ruled that people have the right to force other people to worship the way they do. In your dreams.

For Dan: Supreme Court Backs Church in Landmark Religious Liberty Case - Jan 11, 2012 ... The government must stay out of hiring and firing decisions by a religious organizations..... Religious freedom groups praised the decision, and especially the fact that it came from a unanimous court.

I have to laugh at this. In my field, I have encountered several lesbian women who have discriminated to downright abused men who have worked for them. In the late 1970's I worked with a woman who only hired women and any men who worked for her got short shrift in almost every aspect of their employment. In fact, she would make the point that she "hated" men and especially straight men. I got no protection for that kind of discrimination of course it was the 70's. Then in the 1980's a lesbian took over a chain and all of a sudden within 6 months people were fired and 60% of the managers at locations were also lesbians. No one spoke up about that and if you did the manager called you a bigot and worked you out of the company. In the 1990's a lesbian boss who my fellow colleague worked for, worked him out of a job and he was a senior manager to replace him with.....guess what? her lesbian partner. No one spoke of the discrimination about that. In 2005 I worked for a company and was promised a promotion by the company, shown a career path and they hired a lesbian as my immediate supervisor, she told the company that she did not think I was right for the job and guess what?........she hired a lesbian college friend to fill the position. This kind of nepotism amongst lesbians has gone on for years in a number of fields. It is true that we hire people who are like "us" or think like "us", that is certainly true. However, at the end of the day, discrimination based on sexual orientation, either way is not correct. There should be no preferences and the knife cuts both ways. What is the protection that people get from these lesbians who are almost untouchable as if they have special rights to discriminate against others and be downright vicious? In 2002 I applied for a position and was told I was the leading candidate only to hear from the recruiter that yes, I was the most qualified but they really wanted to hire a woman to meet the EEOC and Affirmative Action guidelines. My point again is that there is discrimination all over the place; the myth about white males dominating the workplace is just that......a myth. Lesbians are not special citizens nor are women or hispanics or anyone else. Hiring should be a gender and race blind selection process, I agree with that but it needs to be applied evenly. No special rights or special glance aways for those who discriminate in any way. Also, bullying in the workplace by any boss should not be tolerated. Why are we not focusing on that.

You may be happy to know that the proposed law also protects you, and under this law, all of the situations you described would have been illegal. Quoting from the definitions section of the bill: "(9) SEXUAL ORIENTATION - The term ‘sexual orientation’ means homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality." Here's the full text of the bill: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/hr3017/text.

I would hope so, but it is not as dire for those groups as you think. Those same groups discriminate but it is very tough to go against minority groups when you are a majority. No one wanted to listen in the past. I fear that it would not fly to claim discrimination against a minority for not hiring you as it would if the hiring party was a majority.

You'll have to forgive him/her, F-O-F . . . in their world all lesbians are bitter, butch, man-haters and all gay men are flamboyant, limp-wristed dandies.

Not really, but, the lesbian stereotype certainly carries weight. I have worked with many gay men and they seem to take the view 'do no harm'....not so on the other side.

Well done, gentlewomen.

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