Thursday April 14, 2011 | 02:21 PM

Sen. Susan Collins is part of a renewed bid to pass a bipartisan bill protecting against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Maine Republican is a lead co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, along with Democrats Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tom Harkin of Iowa and Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois.
 
Collins noted in a statement today that Maine is one of a number of states with similar laws, and that many Fortune 500 companies already have policies in place protecting gays, lesbians and transgender individuals against discrimination in the workplace. The legislation to enact a federal law would “close an important gap in federal civil rights laws,” Collins said.
 
"Our legislation affirms the principle that individuals should be judged solely on their skills and abilities," said Collins said in a statement.
 
Similar legislation has failed to clear Congress over the past few years.
 
"Congress has waited far too long to pass an inclusive bill that would provide basic workplace protections for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people, and we must fight for this legislation's passage," said National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell, in a statement included in the release announcing the bill’s introduction.  "We don't have the luxury of waiting any longer-too many people are at risk, too many people are being discriminated against day, and too many people need these basic workplace protections. We must hold our elected officials accountable to their duty of protecting each and every single one of us until a fully-inclusive ENDA is signed into law."

 

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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