Friday, November 09, 2007

My Op-Ed on Virginia News

My friend Morris is the editor of the libertarian news page Per his request, I have an op-ed feaured today on why ENDA's passage is needed. The op-ed is here ( and reads as follows:
Why The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is Necessary by Michael Hamar, Attorney At Law
Yesterday, the U. S. House of Representatives passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (“ENDA”) by a 235 to 184 margin. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the U. S. Senate before year end. While President Bush has made noises about vetoing the bill if it is passed by Congress, support for the bill is important. True, there are those who will be actively spreading disinformation about the ENDA’s impact:
First, it is important to understand that ENDA will NOT impact “mom and pop” operations with fewer than 15 employees.
Secondly, there is a blanket exemption for religious organizations. Therefore, anyone who contends that these types of employers will be affected is, pardon my blunt language, a liar.
Most of this false information will sadly come from self-styled “Christian” groups. Other opponents will contend that one’s sexual orientation is a choice. That claim is also false and is not supported by any REPUTABLE medical or mental health organization. The reality is that everyday around the majority of states in this country, Virginia, included, gay individuals can be and are regularly fired from their jobs based solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.

This happens due to the prejudice and bias of employers themselves or that of other employees who seek to have them fired. The end result is the same: an individual who was properly doing his/her job is suddenly unemployed due to discrimination against them for who they are. In whatever form ENDA passes – and its passage is critical for gay communities in states like Virginia – it would provide federal protections to employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation. For gay individuals, passage would bring a level of job security previously unknown.

In Virginia, so many individuals remain closeted at work for fear of losing their job. For employers, passage would mean that prospective employees would not be fearful of accepting employment in Virginia and sacrificing protections they might enjoy in other states with state non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation as a protected category.

ENDA would make Virginia and Hampton Roads more competitive in attracting the best and brightest workers. Passage of ENDA is a win-win for gay employees and gay and gay friendly owned employers.

Responsible, hard working citizens should not fear job loss solely because their sexual orientation does not conform to someone else’s religious beliefs. All gay individuals and gay owned business, together with gay friendly businesses and fair minded individuals, should let their elected officials (including the President) know that they support the passage of ENDA.

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