Bill Nelson finally dragged his feet to supporting a bill that prevent job discrimination for LGBT citizens, but his fellow Florida senator, Marco Rubio, continues to sip on some watered-down Anita Bryant-style orange juice and has reiterated his opposition to the bill. What's his excuse? Oh, a bunch of things that can easily be disproven.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would finally make it illegal to discriminate in hiring or fire employees based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Similar laws already protect people based on their sex, race and religious identity.
Several states, cities and counties (including the largest here in Florida) already have similar laws on the books, but Marco Rubio isn't on board.
"He believes people's qualifications, performance and honesty are the most important qualities by which they should be judged in the workplace. If you're a good worker, that's all that should matter," spokeswoman Brooke Sammon told The Buzz. "This legislation goes far beyond protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation, and he is currently studying what kinds of burdens it could impose on small businesses, frivolous lawsuits that could result, and ensuring that religious freedoms under the First Amendment are protected."
ENDA would in fact reiterate that a person's "qualifications, performance and honesty" are in fact the main qualities they should be judged on for employment. That's currently not always the case. One frequently cited 2011 study sent out near identical resumes to 1,769 job listings in seven states. The only difference is that one mentioned the applicant had been a member of a gay group in college. Guess who got significantly more call backs? The non-gay applicant.
In fact, here in Florida the non-gay resume has a callback rate of 9.5 percent. The gay resume had a callback rate of only 5.5 percent. The difference was much smaller in states that had ENDA-like protections, including New York and California.
Analysis also shows that rates of complaints filed under the law are about equal with complaints filed by women and less than complaints based on race.
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The law also protects small businesses (to be, uh, bigots) by limiting the rules to companies with 15 or more employees. Religious organizations are also exempt.
So it kind of seems like Rubio's concerns are unfounded.
The bill looks more and more likely that it will be passed in the Senate. A vote has been promised before Thanksgiving. Of course, that's a bit of a moot points since it probably won't even be brought to the floor in the Tea Party-stirred House.