Senators Heinrich and Udall Lead the Way on ENDA in the U.S. Senate; New Mexico Democrats Call for Swift Action to End Discrimination in the House.

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich and U.S. Senator Tom Udall voted in favor of S.815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA), a bill he is cosponsoring to prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill passed with a 64 to 32 vote.

“Today the Senate took a historic step toward creating a more fair and just America,” said Sen. Heinrich. “Passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ensures that every employee in every state is judged not on who they are or who they love, but on the quality of their work. I’m proud to be a longtime supporter of ENDA and to represent a state that was at the forefront of providing these kinds of workplace protections for our LGBT community a decade ago. I urge the House to follow suit and hold a vote on ENDA so it can be signed into law this year” Senator Heinrich said.

ENDA would prohibit employers nationwide from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against those employed or seeking employment, on the basis of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. Such protections are already in place prohibiting discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age, and disability.

Both of New Mexico’s Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined in applauding the historic 64-32 vote in the United States Senate for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) yesterday, and called for swift passage in the House of Representatives.

Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District and a cosponsor of the House version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) applauded the Senate passage of legislation that would prohibit discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“As a cosponsor and strong supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, I am encouraged that the Senate passed this important legislation, with strong bipartisan support, that would ensure no one is discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation.  With more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies already implementing policies like ENDA, it is time to adopt these best practices into law, and provide the LGBT community assurance that discrimination will not be tolerated.  Workers should be judged on their ability and work ethic, not their sexual orientation.

“Now that this bill has cleared the Senate, I hope that Republican leaders in the House will reconsider their opposition to this legislation and not stand in the way of the fight against discrimination.  I call upon House Republican leaders to allow a vote on this important bill.”

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico’s First Congressional District released the following statement after Senate passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA):

“With its strong bipartisan vote to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the United States Senate today reaffirmed a basic but vital principle: everyone in this country should be treated equally under the law. Nobody should have to go to work every day fearful that they’ll lose their job simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. America’s workers should be judged based on their job performance, not on who they are or who they love.

“Now it’s time for the House to side with most Fortune 500 companies, countless small businesses, the state of New Mexico and a majority of Americans by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. I’m proud to join nearly 200 of my House colleagues in co-sponsoring ENDA, and I urge Speaker Boehner to allow a vote on this bipartisan legislation.”

Under Democratic leadership, New Mexico amended its Human Rights Act in 2003 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, and consumer credit, placing it among those states that provide the strongest protections for gay and transgender workers.