Gay rights bill 'unnecessary,' says Speaker Boehner

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Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday reiterated his opposition to Senate-passed legislation aimed at protecting gay people from workplace discrimination.

“I am opposed to discrimination of any kind in the workplace or anyplace else, but I think this legislation … is unnecessary and would provide a basis for frivolous lawsuits,” Boehner said at a Capitol press conference, signaling the bill had no future in the House. “People are already protected in the workplace.”

The Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) last week on a bipartisan vote of 64-32. The bill has long been a priority for gay rights activists and Democratic leaders.

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Supporters of ENDA say it is needed to create national rules that prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Similar rules are in place in many states, advocates say, but not all.

But Boehner cited his experience with previous iterations of the bill as a former chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee in the House.

“Listen, I understand that people have differing opinions on this issue, and I respect their opinions, but as someone who has worked in this employment law area for all of years in the statehouse and all of my years here, I see no basis, or no need, for this,” he said.

Democrats, along with some Republicans, have vowed to continuing press House leaders to bring the legislation to a vote.