Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 7, 2007
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. HIRONO. Madam Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 3865, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007 (ENDA), as well as in support of the amendment to the bill offered by Congresswoman TAMMY BALDWIN.

I would like to thank the chief sponsor .of the bill, Congressman Barney Frank, and George Miller, Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, for their leadership. This is truly a historic moment, which was largely made possible by their commitment to the democratic ideals of equality and fairness.

As an original cosponsor of the original ENDA, H.R. 2015, I am glad to be able to have this opportunity to debate the BALDWIN amendment to include anti-discrimination protections for transgender individuals. It is unfortunate that political realities made it difficult to bring an inclusive ENDA to the floor today in the first place.

However, I stand with Congresswoman BALDWIN in her courageous fight to provide for the inclusion of a group that is probably the most in need of workplace protections. I look forward to continuing to work with her and our likeminded colleagues in any effort to build upon the momentum of H.R. 3865 and provide employment protections for gender identity through future educational and legislative initiatives.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited employment discrimination based on race and gender. The scope of protections has expanded since then to also bar employment discrimination based on religion, color, and national origin. And while versions of H.R. 3865 have been introduced in each Congress since 1975, this is the first time it will be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives.

H.R. 3865 provides us with a historic opportunity to be able to respond to the prejudice and discrimination that face millions of Americans in our workforce. It is at moments like these, this ability to provide for civil rights progress, that I am truly proud to be a member of the Democratic majority making freshmen class.

I urge my colleagues to join me in voting for H.R. 3865 and working toward the inclusion of gender identity in future legislation. Mahalo (thank you).