November 14, 2013 | by Chris Johnson
Boehner sees ‘no basis or no need’ for ENDA
John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner said he sees “no basis or no need” for ENDA (Blade file photo by Michael Key).

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he sees “no basis or no need” for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act when asked Thursday whether he would allow a vote on the legislation despite his misgivings on the bill.

In a response to a question from the Washington Blade on whether Republican leadership will allow a House vote on the bill, Boehner reiterated his previously stated personal opposition to ENDA.

“I am opposed to discrimination of any kind, in the workplace and any place else,” Boehner said. “But I think this legislation that I’ve dealt with as chairman of The Education & The 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. I’m opposed to continuing this. Listen, I understand people have differing opinions on this issue, and I respect those opinions. But as someone who’s worked in the employment law area for all my years in the State House and all my years here, I see no basis or no need for this legislation.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said Boehner is “flat out wrong” on his assertions about ENDA.

“The late, great Senator Moynihan of New York said that everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts,” Griffin said. “It’s shocking that Speaker Boehner, entrusted by the people to make laws, is so fundamentally mistaken about what’s currently on the books. The Speaker is flat out wrong on the facts and the law.”

Despite the speaker’s assertions that people “are already protected” against workplace bias, discriminating against someone for being gay is legal in 29 states and discriminating against someone for being transgender is legal in 33 states. As ThinkProgress notes, Boehner’s home state of Ohio lacks any kind of law protecting LGBT people from workplace discrimination.

Tico Almeida, president of the LGBT group Freedom to Work, said Boehner’s “excuses” for not bringing up ENDA for a vote “are just plain wrong.”

“He should know that a majority of state legislatures have failed to pass LGBT workplace protections,” Almeida said. “We will continue to work with House Republicans who support ENDA to push for a vote, but the best thing that could happen for ENDA right now is President Obama leading by example and signing the executive order.”

Watch the video here (courtesy ThinkProgress)

A transcript of the exchange follows.

Washington Blade: Mr. Speaker, last week in the Senate, 10 Republicans joined the Democratic caucus in approving the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Proponents of the bill say there are sufficient votes in this chamber to pass it on the floor. Despite your misgivings on the bill, will Republican leadership allow a vote on that bill so members can have their say?

John Boehner: I am opposed to discrimination of any kind, in the workplace and any place else. But I think this legislation that I’ve dealt with as chairman of The Education & The 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. I’m opposed to continuing this. Listen, I understand people have differing opinions on this issue, and I respect those opinions. But as someone who’s worked in the employment law area for all my years in the State House and all my years here, I see no basis or no need for this legislation.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

10 Comments
  • Instead of asking him the same questions over and over again, journalists need to confront him on his bald-faced LIE.

    • Why should we expect any more from “journalists” these days – all they do is provide PR for those in power – “real” journalists must be turning over in their graves!

  • He should be asked to provide proof of those existing protections for LGBT people.

    Otherwise – I see no basis or need for Speaker Boehner.

  • HRC can whine all it wants to Boehner that he’s wrong. He knows he’s wrong, he won’t admit it, but he doesn’t want it to become law and knows it might if he allows a vote on it,so he won’t let it get a vote. So you’re stuck at an impasse that you likely won’t be able to do anything about. Why is this a shock? Has Boehner ever voted for anything that benefits GLBT people?

    Nancy Pelosi can chastise him all she wants, too. He doesn’t care. Pelosi should have allowed the bill to have a vote when she was Speaker instead of making excuses and had she done so it would be law now. I recall her saying we had to either get a vote on ending DADT or ENDA but couldn’t have both. She failed to allow us to take advantage of a unique opportunity. Will the Blade allow me to criticize the Dems and Pelosi? I’m only speaking facts and she should be held accountable for it.

    Prospects aren’t a sure thing that the Dems will get the House back either next year so ENDA may not be a reality for another generation unless we can get the White House in 2016. Take nothing for granted.

  • Boehner is doing just fine not lapping up the lies from Democrats and their twisted LGBT base.

    No one has any obligation to employ people who are destroying society
    because of their political agenda. It’s no different than being forced
    to employ any other individual with a harmful ideology.

    There is no such thing as equating “sexual orientation” to race (or
    any in-born physical characteristics), thus legislation that equate it
    to racial discrimination is empty of meaning. It is a fraudulent concept
    at its very root. This is just one more case that evidences that
    every piece of legislation regarding discrimination based on sexual
    orientation is a fraud and must be scrapped. Lastly, and the most
    important point in all of this, is that once you establish a “protected
    class” for whom different laws apply, you’ve clearly done away with
    equal protection before the law.

    ENDA isn't just a push for a special right – it will forcibly bring
    about the persecution and discrimination of anyone who doesn't normalize
    homosexuality and transgender-ism Everyone who has such problems
    (LGBTs) is responsible for investigating their underlying psychological
    problems that produce their dysfunctional sexual psychologies. Having a major problem with heterosexuality is no reason to force employers to keep such people on staff.

    • Boehner only is doing fine in lapping up the rear end of his twisted right-wing conservative base such as you in denying a fair up and down vote on ENDA. It’s your agenda that is polarizing America with your endless attacks on the rights of GLTB Americans. It’s destroying decency, fairness and justice! Your agenda distorts facts if not invents them to create hysteria in order to influence people. It’s the REAL Fraud.

      Conveniently, your specious rant ignores the fact that Religion is NOT an in-born characteristic like race or gender either. It’s a “CHOICE” that is nonetheless protected from job discrimination! If you can do it for that, then you can do it for the choice of GLBT Americans to be honest about who they are!

      You obviously are too dense to realize that anti-discrimination laws that protect race, gender, religion, handicap or age already established special classes. Extending such rights to include GLTB Americans doesn’t create anything unprecedented.

      Your hateful obnoxious rant only proves that there are people out there that want to discriminate and deny people employment based on sexual orientation and being transgender. The bill makes religious exemptions which are more than adequate. The secular workplace should be a level playing field allowing all to earn a living. That is what America is about.

      The only physiological problem that needs to be treated is your own. You’re anti-social if not psychotic and need therapy and medication to calm you down before you shoot the people around you!

  • Chris as usual great reporting even if I don’t like what the subjects of your reports say- keep up the great work

  • You live it, and then state there is no need for ENDA. What an ass !

  • We have too many narrow-minded, impotent, geezer politicians in Washington DC in the Republican Party. It’s time to clean House of these turds.

  • Boehner and his band of idiots are the reason the GOTP is going down the drain come 2014 and 2016… I cannot wait!!! Dak!

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