Senate bill moves the country toward LGBT acceptance

Column

It seems the U.S. Senate finally did something that might draw the public’s attention away from the government shutdown last month.

Fifty-four members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate were joined by seven Republicans in a vote to formally begin consideration of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would ban discrimination of workers because of their sexual orientation. The Senate passed the bill on Thursday, moving the country closer to ending discrimination of LGBT employees.

The Senate seemed to finally realize that a majority of Americans think that gay Americans should have the right to marry. After all, 14 states have legalized same-sex marriage, with Illinois working to make it 15. Still, the amount of discrimination LGBT people face on a regular basis is both shocking and shameful.

I’ll never understand why LGBT people are discriminated against, especially in the workforce. Why does someone’s sexual orientation matter in the workforce? Homosexuals don’t try to convert people to homosexuality, so why does the discrimination exist?

If you ask me, discrimination of LGBT people is an outrage and should already be punishable by law. So what if a co-worker is gay, if they don’t hit on you, then why does their sexual orientation bother you? Because “being gay is icky?” Boo-hoo. Welcome to real life. Homosexuality is found in more than 400 species; homophobia is found in just one — which one of the two seems odd now?

I’m glad the Senate passed the bill. Even more surprising is that Tea Party Republicans joined Democrats in passing the bill. If only the House of Representatives does the right thing and passes the bill.

However, House Speaker John Boehner claimed the bill is dead on arrival upon entering the House for a vote. He, along with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, both claim the proposal would lead to “frivolous lawsuits” and kill jobs. Bull. Giving people rights that you’ve always had doesn’t kill jobs or lead to lawsuits — it just gives them the rights they should have had to begin with.

It’s time to bring an end to discrimination against LGBT people in the workforce. Let’s make it happen.