Senate Committee Holding Hearing Into ENDA Now
By Chris Geidner
June 12, 2012
The Senate Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee is holding a hearing this morning into the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Chaired by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the witnesses today include:
M. V. Lee Badgett, Research Director of the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA and Director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
Kylar Broadus, Founder, Trans People of Color Coalition, Columbia, MO
Samuel Bagenstos, Professor of law, University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, MI
Ken Charles, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, MN
Craig Parshall, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, National Religious Broadcasters Association, Manassas, VA
In opening the hearing, Harkin said, “The issue here could not be simpler or more straightforward: it is long past time to eliminate bigotry in the workplace and ensure equal opportunity for all Americans. It is time to make clear that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans are first-class citizens. They are full and welcome members of our American family. And they deserve the same civil rights protections as all other Americans.”
Later in the hearing, Harkin acknowledged that Broadus is the first out transgender person to testify before the Senate, saying it made him “proud of this committee” and that he thanked Broadus for coming forward to testify about discrimination that he has faced since coming out as transgender and transitioning.
In addition to Harkin, one of ENDA’s lead sponsors, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), is attending the hearing, as are Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.). No Republican members of the committee are attending the hearing.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is not on the committee, asked for and was granted the chance to issue a statement that will be placed in the record in support of the legislation.