November 06, 2013

Senator Warren Urges Colleagues to Pass ENDA

“It has taken us far too long to arrive at this day. But we are here now, and we are not going back.”

 Video is available here


Full text of the remarks available here


Washington, DC – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren today delivered a speech on the floor of the Senate calling on her colleagues to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would outlaw workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Despite the successful efforts in many states to pass nondiscrimination measures," said Senator Warren, "Americans living in over half the country can still be discriminated against in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And it happens. Between 15% and 43% of LGBT individuals have reported experiencing discrimination or harassment in the workplace."

The senator recognized the important strides we have taken toward full equality for the LGBT community and argued that "the failure to treat all our citizens with the same dignity is shameful." She highlighted the important workplace protections ENDA would provide to LGBT Americans, and applauded the work of Massachusetts legislators including Senator Ted Kennedy, Congressman Barkey Frank and Senator Paul Tsongas who fought for LGBT equality for decades.

"Many have tried hard to reach this day, and our legislators from Massachusetts have long been leaders in the fight...Shortly before his death, in March of 2009, Senator Kennedy joined with Senators Merkley, Collins, and Snowe in what would be his final attempt to push this bipartisan legislation over the finish line," Senator Warren said. "At the time, Senator Kennedy eloquently explained his continuing support for the ENDA by noting that 'the promise of America will never be fulfilled as long as justice is denied to even one among us.'

"Those words were true in 1974 when Bella Abzug introduced the Equality Act. Those words were true when the Senate came within one vote of passing ENDA in 1996. Those words were true when Senator Kennedy offered them in 2009. And those words are true today. 

"I believe in a world where equal means equal, and that is why I will be voting to outlaw employment discrimination against my neighbors and my friends...It has taken us far too long to arrive at this day. But we are here now, and we are not going back."