James C. Hormel is my new hero

James C. Hormel served as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg from 1999 to 2000. He recently wrote a memoir entitled “Fit to Serve: Reflections on a Secret Life, Private Struggle and Public Battle to Become the First Openly Gay U.S. Ambassador.” He is chairman of the family-run investment firm Equidex.

When Shorter University in northwest Georgia recently informed its 200 employees that they had to sign a “personal lifestyle pledge” requiring them to reject homosexuality or lose their jobs, school administrators underscored a staggering injustice: In 29 U.S. states, people can still be fired for being gay.

While same-sex marriage and other equality debates soak up political and media attention, the Employment Non-discrimination Act, a 37-year-old bill, languishes in the U.S. Congress.

Without that federal law, a majority of our states condone job, housing and other discrimination based on sexual orientation. An even larger number — 35 — have no protections for transgender people.

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