Boehner still opposed to ENDA, calls workplace protections bill ‘unnecessary’

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) BRODY LEVESQUE

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), on Thursday reiterated his opposition to federal legislation to prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)

Boehner said the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which the Senate passed last week, is “unnecessary” because “people are already protected in the workplace.”

“I am opposed to discrimination of any kind — in the workplace and any place else,” Boehner said in a news conference.

“But I think this legislation — that I have dealt with as chairman of the Education Workforce Committee long before I was back in the leadership — is unnecessary and would provide a basis for frivolous lawsuits. People are already protected in the workplace,” he said, indicating he is opposed to calling the measure for a vote.

“Listen, I understand people have different opinions on this issue, and I respect those opinions. But as someone who has worked in the employment law area for all of my years in the statehouse and all of my years here, I see no basis or no need for this,” Boehner said.

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Currently, it is legal in 29 states to fire employees based on their sexual orientation and in 33 states based on their gender identity, including the Speaker’s home state of Ohio.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told LGBTQ Nation Thursday that Reid maintains that if Boehner would allow a House vote on the bill, it would most likely pass.

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