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New Study Supports ENDA

By Charlotte Robinson, April 09, 2013
While we wait to see how the US Supreme Court rules in the two gay marriage cases Rice University in Texas has released a study on how legislation can curb discrimination against gays & lesbians in employment situations. Since ENDA (Employment Nondiscrimination Act) still has not passed in this country there still isn’t any federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination & it remains legal in 29 states to discriminate based on sexual orientation & in 34 states to do so based on gender identity or expression. As a result our LGBT community face serious discrimination in employment, including being fired, being denied a promotion & experiencing harassment on the job. Laura Barron, a 2008 Rice alumna & now personnel research psychologist for the U.S. Air Force & the study's lead author stated, "In many U.S. states & localities (including much of Texas), gays & lesbians remain unprotected from employment discrimination & in the debate over national antidiscrimination legislation, some lawmakers have sought to justify opposition to ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) by suggesting that antidiscrimination legislation would not effectively reduce discrimination if enacted. Our research findings directly dispute this claim."
The study revealed that:
Public awareness & support of sexual-orientation laws is heightened in communities with (versus without) antidiscrimination legislation.
Gay & lesbian job applicants experience significantly less interpersonal discrimination in areas with (versus without) this protective legislation, even when statistically controlling for religious & political views.
Training that informs interviewers that sexual-orientation employment discrimination is legal or illegal in their community directly affects their treatment of gay & lesbian applicants.
The researchers hope their findings will inform the legislative debate on gay rights by providing empirical evidence on the potential impact of national antidiscrimination legislation.
AUDIO: GLAD's Lee Swislow on DOMA. ENDA & LGBT Rights

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