WASHINGTON – As the landmark gay rights bill known as the Employee Non-Discrimination Act inches its way through the Senate, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is using his fear mongering tactics to justify his opposition to the bill, which would ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Although McCain’s wife, Cindy, recently signed a Human Rights Campaign postcard pressing her husband to back ENDA, he reiterated his concerns about the bill, claiming that it could lead to “gays taking your jobs.”
“I’m not saying gays and things don’t deserve jobs; they absolutely do. I know a lot of them work very hard at whatever it is they do. But the ENDA legislation could lead to certain scenarios where they could take jobs from well-deserving straight workers, which wouldn’t be fair either.”
McCain elaborated his concerns, saying, “Whether it imposes quotas, whether it has reverse discrimination, whether it has the kinds of provisions that really preserve equal rights for all citizens or, like for example, busing. Busing was done in the name of equality. Busing was a failure. Quotas were a failure. A lot of people thought they were solutions. They weren’t. They bred problems.”
Proponents of the bill were quick to point out that it explicitly forbids quotas and reverse discrimination and contains nothing resembling the desegregation busing practices that began after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision.
“Senator McCain is grossly misinformed about ENDA and the rights that it protects for all citizens,” said openly gay state Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia). “The bill is designed to protect all US citizens from workplace discrimination.”
“It’s irresponsible and simply wrong for John McCain to claim that the bill will be used to bus gay kids to certain schools or allow members of the LGBT community to take over the work place,” added Sims.
Sims also pointed out that Federal law already bans discrimination in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, sex, nationality, religion, age or disability, and that ENDA protects people of all sexual orientations from workplace discrimination, which means a person could not be fired for being heterosexual either.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will bring ENDA to the floor on Monday, but even if the bill passes, it will face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.