U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) formally re-introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) into Congress on Wednesday with 111 co-sponsors, nearly half the number of co-sponsors than in the previous Congress.
As it was introduced in the last Congress, ENDA would bar job discrimination against LGBT people in most situations in the public and private workforce.
According to Frank’s office, job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is legal in 29 states and legal in 38 states on the basis of gender identity.
Even though he’s the sponsor of the legislation, Frank has previously said he sees no chance of passing ENDA during the 112th Congress with Republicans in control of the House and that legislation would have to serve as an education tool until the “next time the Democrats take back the House of Representatives.”
Recognizing that a legislative remedy is unlikely in the short term, LGBT advocates are pressing President Brack Obama to issue an executive order extending workplace protections to LGBT workers of companies the federal government contracts with.
Current federal employment discrimination protections cover race, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability. ENDA would add sexual orientation and gender identity to that list.
The legislation exempts businesses with fewer than 15 employees, as well as religious institutions.