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The Employment Non-Discrimination Act Bans Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity, Protections Currently Available In Hawaii

Washington, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono voted today for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), historic civil rights legislation that establishes federal workplace protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“All Americans deserve the basic civil right to earn a living and be judged by the quality of their work, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Hirono said. “This historic legislation finally establishes on a federal level the kind of protections already offered by forward-thinking states like Hawaii. If we want to continue to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class, we must ensure that every American worker has an equal chance to contribute and fulfill his or her potential.”

ENDA bans employers nationwide from discriminating against LGBT workers, protections that are already commonplace for other minority communities. Currently, discrimination is only prohibited in 21 states based on sexual orientation and in 17 states based on gender identity. More than two thirds of voters support federal legislation protecting the LGBT community and ENDA is supported by major employers including Coca Cola and Apple. Hawaii state law HRS 378-2 banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1991, and was amended in 2011 to cover gender identity.