Employment Non-Discrimination Act (U.S.)

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Article summary (how summaries work)

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would extend anti-discrimination employment protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and (depending on the bill) transgender workers.

In 2007, during the 110th Congress, two variations on the bill were introduced in the House of Representatives. Both bills would provide protections like those granted by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employer discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The first bill, H.R.2015, provides an inclusion of gender identity protection. The second, H.R.3685, does not include protections for gender-related identity.


Background on ENDA

Past Legislation

The first legislation to provide protections against sexual orientation-based discrimination was introduced in 1974. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has since been introduced 22 times, culminating in a 49-50 vote in the Senate in 1996.[1]

Inclusion of transgender identity

On April 24, 2007, Rep. Barney Frank introduced H.R. 2015, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007. The legislation was comprehensive in that it prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to the bill text, gender identity is "the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual's designated sex at birth." In addition, H.R. 2015 provided explicit language on employer dress codes and shared facilities, and how transgender identity applied in those situations.[2]

Bill summary

Debate and passage

While H.R. 2015 was debated, its sponsor, Rep. Barney Frank, decided to exclude gender identity protection after learning the House would not pass the bill. He introduced H.R. 3685 on September 27, 2007, which stripped the protections for gender identity. The Committee on Education and Labor approved H.R. 3685 by a 27 - 21 vote on October 18, and sent the bill to the full House.[3]

Several members of the Democratic caucus were not satisfied with the exclusion. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) sought to introduce an amendment bringing gender identity inclusion back into H.R. 3685, but freshman representatives killed the effort.[4]

Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: National Journal 2007 House Scorecard

Org. position: {{{Vote position 1}}}


"Strike prohibition on employers who hire on the basis of a person's marital status. November 7. (325-101)"

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/house_votes.htm)

Uncertainty over the bill led House leaders to postpone floor votes on H.R. 3685 in late October and early November.[5]

Following several hours of debate on the chamber floor, the House of Representatives approved the measure by a 235-184 vote. Baldwin offered an amendment to provide the same protections for gender identity as for sexual orientation, but withdrew the measure before the vote. [6]

Same for all scorecards:
Scored vote

Scorecard: National Journal 2007 House Scorecard

Org. position: {{{Vote position 1}}}


"Prohibit job discrimination on the basis of a person's sexual orientation. November 7. (235-184)"

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/house_votes.htm)

FRC Action and Focus on the Family Action, which opposed the bill, selected the vote for their 110th Congress House scorecard, where they gave it the following description:

Sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007 (H.R. 3685) is aimed at providing heightened protections for homosexuality and is a radical transformation of workplace discrimination law. H.R. 3685 would grant special consideration on the basis of “sexual orientation” that would not be extended to other employees in the workplace.[7]

Sens. Edward Kennedy and Susan Collins announced they would introduce a similar measure in the Senate, where it came within one vote of adoption in 1996. President Bush had vowed to veto an earlier version of the bill.[8]

Support, opposition and critiques

Articles and resources


  1. Roslyn Manley, "New "Unified" Bill to Replace ENDA," TG Crossroads, June 17, 2003.
  2. Library of Congress, "Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007" Library of Congress, April 24, 2007.
  3. Jesse J. Holland, "Bill to Protect Gay Workers Advances," Washington Post, October 18, 2007.
  4. Jonathan E. Kaplan, "Freshman Democrats kill transgender amendment," The Hill, October 25, 2007.
  5. Lou Chibbaro Jr., "ENDA vote postponed again," The Washington Blade, November 2, 2007.
  6. Johanna Neuman, "House votes for protections for gay workers," The Los Angeles Times, November 8, 2007.
  7. FRC Action, Vote Scorecard - Full 110th Congress.
  8. David Herszenhorn, "House Approves Broad Protections for Gay Workers," The New York Times, November 8, 2007.

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