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Editorial: Ayotte must support nondiscrimination bill

As of midday yesterday, there were 59 U.S. senators pledged to support the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Supporters will likely need 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte should do herself and her constituents a favor and become No. 60.

At issue is legislation that’s been kicking around Congress for years. In an age when gay marriage and gay rights more broadly are rapidly gaining acceptance across the country and the globe, it’s a puzzle that this particular bill has taken so long to gain critical support. When last brought to a vote in the Senate in 1996, ENDA failed by just a single vote.

If Ayotte is, as her aides say, still reviewing the legislation, we’re hoping she’ll consider five good reasons to vote with the majority:

∎ ENDA is good for workers. In many parts of the country, it’s still legal to fire workers simply because they are gay – or because they are perceived to be gay. And many gay employees report discrimination on the job. Surely Ayotte, the former New Hampshire attorney general, can appreciate the injustice there. All employees should have the same rights in the workplace, regardless of their sexual identity and regardless of where they live.

∎ ENDA is in line with New Hampshire law. The state has had a law barring workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians for more than a decade. Support from Ayotte would be in line with her home-state legislators.

∎ Even in New Hampshire, ENDA would be important. The federal proposal goes further than state law in one respect: It includes protection for transgender individuals. State lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to broaden the New Hampshire law in 2009, failing amid a hateful campaign of ridicule that made clear just how much such anti-discrimination measures are needed.

∎ ENDA is line with New Hampshire voters. Everything in Washington comes with a political calculation, but this one should be easy for Ayotte. Her constituents want her to vote for this legislation. Writing in the Washington Post yesterday, researchers Jeff Lax and Justin Phillip noted widespread support for the bill across the country. And among lawmakers still on the fence, they calculated that Ayotte’s constituents in New Hampshire were most in favor. In other words, the risk of angering large numbers of voters at home is small.

∎ ENDA is good for the Republican Party. Along with the GOP’s poor showing among fast-growing minority groups in the 2012 election and its inability to garner support for immigration reform, the party’s position on this and other social issues risks turning it into an antique, unable to win new members from among the country’s youngest voters. Indeed, among the supporters of ENDA in the state are the New Hampshire Young Republican Federation, which last week had this to say: “The New Hampshire Young Republicans are proud to represent a diverse and inclusive group of future leaders who believe strongly in the principles of individual liberty and free markets. It is imperative that as Republicans we lead by example. The Golden Rule has no exceptions, especially in this great country.”

To reject the federal Employment Nondiscrimination Act is to succumb to political cowardice in the face of old-fashioned fear and bigotry. Ayotte is a better senator than that. We urge her to do the right thing.

Legacy Comments7

OK, we won't fire you because you're a transgender, a gay male or a lesbian. We don't need to cite ANY reason for firing you; because we don't have to. We're firing you for no reason at all. You're being fired because I got up on the wrong side of the bed. Satisfied now, Dummycrats?

ENDA is a JOBS bill - letting people who want to work, and who are educated, trained and qualified for work get and keep their JOBS, rather than being at the mercy of some middle manager who's decided he or she doesn't like the look or private life of someone working on the team. Senator Ayotte needs to understand where most of her constituents are on this. If the military can end workplace discrimination, and judge a person based solely on their ability to do a job, so can corporate America.

those are words right from the liberal progressive bill - what a joke.

Here come the commiekrats with their 'one more law' to solve all the world's problems. It is already illegal to discriminate against women and old folks (both protected classes), but look at any board room in Amerika and tell me how many women you see? Also, in the second great depression, companies let go those of us with 'no hair or gray hair' by the thousands. Where is the enforcement of existing laws? Oh yeah, the gestapo is putting all its money into spying on us, not enforcing the millions of laws broken every day by the puppet-masters of our ruling class.

Didn't democrats PROMISE to "focus like a laser on JOBS". Ayotte should not vote until NObama comes clean on....... Well ......the IRS targeting of political opponents, the NSA spying on everyone -- the Fast and Furious dead, Solyndra and all the other crony capitalist backroom deals, the Pigford payouts, his $6 trillion addition to the national debt, the 13.6% U6 unemployment rate, the increase in food stamp and disability rolls, the Benghazi dead and the cover-up, the Syria embarrassment, the racial divisiveness, the doubling of the price of gasoline, and now, ....Typical that the democrats play gotcha politics instead of working on problems - 100% politics all the time from democrats - not a leader amongst the whole rotten Klan

Your too late sail. She voted in the affirmative!

and the House or Supreme Court will kill the bill as it is just more of the democrats WAR on Religious freedom

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