Due to the government shutdown, progress on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) -- which would ban discrimination in hiring based on gender identity or sexual orientation -- has stalled. But when things get back to normal in Washington, LGBT rights advocates seeking to get the act passed by the end of the year now have numbers on their side.
A poll conducted by a former Mitt Romney data guy Alex Lundry and released Monday by Politico shows a firm majority of Americans support a federal law that would protect LGBT employees in their workplaces. And, in fact, eight out of 10 voters surveyed said they thought federal non-discrimination protections in employment already existed.
Of registered voters surveyed, 68 percent support federal non-discrimination protections for LGBT workers compared to just 21 percent who oppose. The perceived need for a federal anti-discrimination law also crosses party lines, with 56 percent of Republicans surveyed supporting it compared to only 32 percent who oppose.
Likely more encouraging for LGBT advocacy groups is the overwhelming majority that agreed with the statement "Everyone has a right to earn a living -– including gay, lesbian and transgender Americans -- and workers should be judged on the job they do –- nothing more, nothing less." Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed backed those words, which mirror the point often argued by supporters of ENDA.
Support for protections against anti-LGBT discrimination appear to exist widely on the state level as well. Through statistical analysis of poll data, Lundry's team found majority support for ENDA in all 50 states. And the most supportive state? Well, that would be Maryland.
On to other news:
- Speaking of the Old Line State, remember last year when Gallaudet University suspended chief diversity officer Angela McCaskill for signing a petition to make same-sex marriage a 2012 ballot measure? And then many marriage equality supporters and opponents actually agreed she should get her job back? Yeah, I thought so. Well, McCaskill is now suing the university, alleging that Gallaudet violated the anti-discrimination prohibitions in the D.C. Human Rights Act.
- Democrats in the suburban Philadelphia county where same-sex marriage licenses were issued in violation of Pennsylvania law are now filing an appeal against the court order that forced the county clerk to stop doing so.
- Because Russia apparently hasn't courted enough controversy recently, the country's legislature has scheduled a bill for discussion that would make "non-traditional sexual orientation" a valid reason to deny parents custody of their children, Gay Star News reports. The bill will reportedly be considered next February -- just in time for the Sochi Olympics to roll into town.
- On that subject, Germany unveiled what I can only describe as amazing technicolor dreamcoat outfits for its Sochi uniforms. Some folks both in the media and on Twitter see the rainbow palette as a subtle dig at Russia's anti-gay law. German officials reportedly deny any political motivation and insist any color choices made were about fashion only. Uh, have you seen those pants, Germany? Let's hope there was some protest underlying them.
- Pope Francis has made some surprising statements about the Catholic Church's stance on gays, but in some respect, it's still the same old Vatican. Case in point: A gallery in Rome covered photos of same-sex couples smooching in churches after the Vatican threatened to get lawyers involved.
- The lawyers who successfully challenged California's Prop 8 at the Supreme Court are now turning their attention to Virginia's ban on marriage equality.
- Playing gay may help get you an Oscar nod, but actually being gay in Hollywood could hurt your career, according to a recent Screen Actors Guild study. Which may seem ridiculous, since the whole point of acting is to take on new roles -- but then again, this is Hollywood.
- Actress Michelle Rodriguez has been dogged by gay rumors for a long time, and she has previously been very reluctant to answer them in any concrete way. Until this week, when Rodriguez told Entertainment Weekly she has "gone both ways" and thinks "Men are intriguing. So are chicks." Kudos to her for coming out.
- If you watch one YouTube video today, make it the one where this straight guy explains how being unfriended on Facebook over his gay brother's wedding finally opened his eyes to anti-gay discrimination.
So that's the news we've got this week. What LGBT-related stories have you been talking about?Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun