Quote check: Senator Collins on ENDA

THE QUOTE: “We are about to make history by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, better known as ENDA.  We will establish that the right to work free from discrimination is a fundamental right of each and every American, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, disability, national origin, and now sexual orientation.”

WHO SAID IT: U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), a co-sponsor and strong supporter of ENDA, on the Senate floor Thursday and in a press release after passage.

WHAT’S MISSING: “gender identity”

WHY IT’S AN ISSUE: “This was a fairly universal problem, and it’s definitely a problem,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, one of the key groups pushing for passage of ENDA. “I think there are multiple reasons why it happens. Sometimes, people just want to shorthand the list. Sometimes, they do it because they journalistically get it wrong. Some are doing it to hide us. I don’t think Collins was. She’s been fabulous and very supportive of transgender people. But some don’t want to highlight us in the bill. And probably some don’t want transgender or gender identity in the bill because they wrongly think it may hurt the bill. A really large part of any policy effort is the public education that goes along with it. When ENDA passes [in Congress], it will be a really big educational moment and, if we’re not saying ‘transgender’ or ‘gender identity,’ that muffles the educational moment quite a bit.”

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