On Tuesday, US Rep. Charles Dent (R-15) joined several House members in sending a letter to Speaker John Boehner urging him to schedule a vote on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA). Four other Republican members and five Democratic members signed the letter.
The fifth-term House member from the Lehigh Valley is a well known centrist in the Republican party who has consistently called for measures that provide dignity and fairness to LGBT people. Speaker Boehner has made repeated public statements that he will not run ENDA.
In the letter, Rep. Dent joins in writing “An innate sense of fairness compels our country to rise above all forms of workplace discrimination…Job discrimination against any American creates an uneven playing field that runs contrary to the basic notion of equality and our economic efficiency.” The full letter is below.
Rep. Dent is a co-sponsor of ENDA as well as the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA). SSIA is an critical anti-bullying bill, that has been introduced in both chambers for the past several legislative sessions that includes an enumeration of protections. The legislation guarantees access to safe schools policies to all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Additionally, he was one of only two Republicans to sign onto the Uniting American Families Act, an LGBT immigration equality bill. The legislation has since been antiquated because of the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned DOMA in June.
ENDA passed the United States Senate last month in a 64-32 vote. Pennsylvania’s US Sen. Pat Toomey (R) was a key supporter in both the cloture and final votes in favor the legislation. He was one of only ten Republicans to vote for the measure.
Rep. Dent represents Lehigh County and parts of Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, and Northampton Counties. His predecessor as US Representative for the 15th Pennsylvania district is Sen. Pat Toomey, who was in the position from 1999 to 2005.
Rep. Dent has served in both the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and State Senate. He is a graduate of Allen High School, Penn State University for his undergraduate degree, and Lehigh University for a Masters in Public Administration.
Photo: The Associated Press