A few weeks ago, the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by a vote of 64 to 32.
Both senators from Kentucky, Republicans Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, voted no on the measure.
If approved by the House and signed by the president, the legislation would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The law exempts private businesses that employ fewer than 15 people, as well as churches and religious organizations. The House has not taken up ENDA, and Speaker John Boehner has already criticized the bill for being unnecessary.
Monday on Kentucky Tonight, we had a rousing conversation about ENDA. Our panel debated the balance between civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people versus First Amendment rights protecting religious freedom. The group also discussed concerns that ENDA could adversely affect businesses owners with frivolous lawsuits, despite statistics that indicate no dramatic increase in legal claims where such anti-discrimination protections already exist.
Our guests were Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for The Family Foundation of Kentucky; Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign; Richard Nelson, executive director of the Commonwealth Policy Center; and Enid Trucios-Haynes, president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.
Here’s some of what the panelists had to say:
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Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!