The Salt Lake County Council unanimously voted this afternoon to send a letter to Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (R), asking him to support a bill making its way through Congress that would prevent workplace discrimination of LGBT citizens.
“We believe this to be good public policy,” wrote the 9 member council (5 Republicans and 4 Democrats) “that should be replicated on the federal level to protect all Americans regardless of the municipality in which they work.”
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, would prohibit employers from making any employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, promotions or compensation based solely on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Nationally, the bill is supported by over 80 percent of Americans, and (according to a recent poll by BYU) it has more than 70 percent support among Utahns.
Salt Lake County and 14 other cities and municipalities across Utah have passed similar ordinances since 2009, but the legislation has yet to make it to even a floor debate in the Utah Legislature, despite support from Democrats, a few Republicans, and the former Republican Party chairman Thomas Wright.
Read the full letter below:
The Honorable Orrin Hatch
8402 Federal Building
125 South State Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84138
Dear Senator Hatch:
We, the members of the Salt Lake County Council, write today to urge you to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA; S.815) which is currently being considered by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions of which you are a respected member.
ENDA extends federal employment discrimination protections currently provided based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability to sexual orientation and gender identity. These protections would prohibit employers, employment agencies, and labor unions from using an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for employment decisions such as hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation.
This legislation would not allow preferential treatment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and it would not apply to small businesses with fewer than 15 employees or religious organizations.
In 2010 the Salt Lake County Council passed an ordinance for our county enacting similar protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. To date a total of 15 cities and counties in Utah have passed these protections.
We believe this to be good public policy that should be replicated on the federal level to protect all Americans regardless of the municipality in which they work.
ENDA also has strong support from the business community with hundreds of large corporations and small businesses signing on in support—including several with a strong presence in Utah.
It is our hope that you will use your influence with your colleagues and vote on the committee to move the legislation forward out of committee and then support final passage of ENDA when it comes before the Senate as a whole.
[The Members of the Salt Lake County Council]