Sen. Harry Reid on ENDA

Sen. Harry Reid on ENDA

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – yep, MY senator – has long supported legislation to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

However, yesterday he revealed a more personal reason for his support.

“My niece is a lesbian,” Reid said during a sit-down with reporters. “She’s a school teacher. Her employment shouldn’t be affected with that. We should have a law that says that, not just the good graces of wherever you work.”

Although she passed on making any pubic statements herself, Reid’s spokesman says she was fine with Reid making her sexual orientation public.

Reid spoke about being approached by the HRC in the 1990s for support regarding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The bill would prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

The bill has been reintroduced in several Congresses and has gotten some hearings, but hasn’t had a vote on the House or Senate floor since Nov. 2007, when it passed the House by 235-184. ENDA was introduced in this Congress by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) in the House and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in the Senate.

Reid said there’s “a chance” he’ll bring up ENDA for a vote this year, noting that he had a meeting about it just last week. He wondered aloud why it doesn’t have broad support to pass.

“It’s hard to comprehend that we haven’t done a better job,” he said.