Earlier this month, the Senate affirmed that all Americans deserve basic civil rights in the workplace regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Backed by a large majority of voters who believe it should be illegal to fire somebody because they are gay, 64 senators – including 10 Republicans – came together in support of the bill, which social conservatives have bitterly opposed since it was first introduced in the 1990s. Now, the only thing standing in the way of long-overdue protections for LGBT workers is House Speaker John Boehner, who has declared his opposition and signaled that he may not even allow a vote on it.
Boehner has justified his stance by falsely suggesting that any workplace discrimination is already illegal, but past statements by many members of his party reveal another factor at play: the homophobia and bigotry of extreme House Republicans. Among other ugly views, conservative House members have described homosexuality as “personal enslavement,” compared being gay to “somebody who has love for an animal,” and warned that LGBT rights are “a threat to the nation’s survival.”
The choice for Boehner is clear. He can listen to the American people and recognize that everybody deserves equal rights in the workplace, or he can acquiesce to the far right and turn the people’s House into a House of Hate.Read more after the jump.