Outlawing Discrimination In The Workplace

ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

A highly-debated bill may pass by the end of next year.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) would outlaw employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

This has been illegal in Iowa since 2007 and is also illegal in 29 other states, but Senator Tom Harkin said it’s time for the entire nation to join.

“Whatever my persuasive powers may be, it would not have happened without you out here,” said Democratic Senator Tom Harkin on Saturday afternoon.

Senator Harkin explained the importance of having full equality for all Americans.

“It’s time that we ban discrimination all over this country on basis of your sexual orientation or gender identity and I think most of the American people agree with this,” said Sen. Harkin.

That way everyone, everywhere would be safe in the work place.

“He gets it, he knows as long as he takes care of people, everything will work out. As I tell people in Iowa, I’m safe, but if I move I’m not, so it gives a freedom to travel,” said Sharon Melherio, founder of One Iowa.

“The LGBT community owes him so much, so we’re just so thrilled to be here today to say thank you,” said Donna Red Wing.

Senator Harkin said the pressure is on the House and he thinks the momentum in many communities is growing.

“Year after year, decade after decade, this year we got through to the Senate. We have the votes in the House, we just hope the House has the courage to do what’s right,” said Red Wing.

Sen. Harkin said the House has until the end of next year to vote on the bill, but he hopes to see something sooner rather than later.

Read the article and watch the video from WOI-TV.