Currently, 35 states in the United States of America allow for same-sex marriage. This means that a majority of the states in the country allow people to enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples.
However, this may not offer many peace of mind to the LGBT folk still being discriminated against across the country. Specifically, in 29 states (16 of which allow same-sex marriage) it is still legal for someone to be fired for being gay or because of their gender identity.
ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) hoped to fix this but after years of trying to push the bill into law, it has finally been killed. Some US politicians hope to replace it with the better ‘Equality Act’ instead.
ENDA was finally gutted and thrown out after a vote in the House Rules Committee that went against it 7-3. Such a vote, whilst unfortunate, is unsurprising as the bill had plenty of opponents who criticised it when it wanted to prevent discrimination against LGB people in the workplace and again when it was amended to include trans* folk too.
Not all hope is lost though as the aforementioned Equality Act is looking to be a bigger, better and more comprehensive version of ENDA. It will do this by including protections across the country not just in the workplace but in “public accommodations, housing, jury service, and financial transactions for LGBT Americans” too.
Sen.Jeff Merkley (the main driver of ENDA in the Senate) released the following statement to TIME:
“It can’t be right that people are thrown out of their rental housing because of their LGBT status or can be denied entry to a movie theater or to a restaurant. That simply is wrong and we need to take on this broader agenda.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Mark Takano did unfortunately point out that the Equality Act is unlikely to pass soon either as Congress is still controlled by the conservative (and generally less progressive) Republican Party. However, Takano also stressed how important it is to fight anti-LGBT discrimination so I wouldn’t expect he or his pro-LGBT colleagues to give up on this soon.