US House stonewalls gay rights

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer: The U.S. Senate’s recent overwhelming approval of ENDA — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — doesn’t end the struggle for gay, lesbian and transgendered rights. After all, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives refuses to consider the legislation.

But it is an important advancement in civil rights and demonstrates that Democrats and Republicans can work together on knotty problems if they are willing to compromise and search for common ground. Now the House must do the same.

That bipartisanship was illustrated by Ohio’s two senators.

Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who announced his support for gay marriage recently after his son revealed he was gay, and stalwart gay rights supporter Democrat Sherrod Brown voted to approve the bill. It forbids discrimination against gays in hiring and in the workplace, discrimination that no American should tolerate.

Those who voted against ENDA argue that it’s not needed because gays have enough protection against bosses who might dislike their sexual orientation. But they don’t.

Here in Ohio, gays, lesbians and transgendered people may be fired at will. Just 21 states and Washington, D.C., have laws forbidding job discrimination against gays, according to Human Rights Watch. The Senate shows that our nation is inching closer to the right side of the moral ledger by passing laws that treat everyone — gay or straight — fairly and equally.

It is about time.

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