Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
100's of organizations, including UCC Justice and Witness Ministries and the UCC Wider Church Ministries' Office for LGBT Ministries, are working with members of congress to get an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimnation Act (ENDA) passed in this Congress. The strong UCC General Synod policy basis for support of an inclusive ENDA includes the 10th General Synod of the United Church of Christ (1975) pronouncement, Civil Liberties without Discrimination. It declared,
discrimination related to sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other civil liberties, inflicts an incalculable burden of fear into the lives of persons in society and in the church whose orientation is toward persons of the same gender. …We hold, as a child of God, every person is endowed with worth and dignity that human judgment cannot set aside. Denial and violation of the civil liberties of the individual and their right to equal protection under the law defames that worth and dignity and is, therefore, morally wrong.
It is still legal in 33 states to fire or refuse to hire someone simply because of his or her sexual orientation. In 39 states, it is legal to do so solely based on an individual's gender identity. Judging workers solely on their ability to do the job and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity is a basic civil right. Yet there is still no federal law protecting individuals from such discrimination.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. It would create protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people that are similar to those available under existing federal discrimination laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that prohibited employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity and expression. The removal of transgender persons from protections was opposed by many LGBT and allied activist, including LGBT and allied leaders in the UCC. The bill stalled in the Senate and was never voted on.
Relevant UCC General Synod Resolutions include:
- 1975 – Pronouncement: Civil Liberties without Discrimination
- 1985 – Resolution: Open and Affirming
- 1996 – Resolution: Greater Leadership to End Discrimination
- 2003 – Resolution: Transgender Inclusion and Human Rights
- Click here to join the UCC's Justice Peace Action Network and take action in support of ENDA.
In DC, make their phone ring!
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and have them connect you to your Representative (based on your zip code). Tell them: "I am a constituent, a person of faith and I would like you to please tell Representative [your Representative's name] that I strongly support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would ban discrimination against all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."
Then, call back and leave messages with your two Senators too!
At home, set up a visit!
Request an in-person meeting for you and other community members with your two Senators and your Representative (or their staffs) in their home district offices. You can call the district offices to request these meetings but they often want you to fax a meeting request. To find contact info for district offices, go to http://www.senate.gov/ and http://www.house.gov/.
United ENDA is a coalition of 100s of organizations, including the UCC Office for LGBT Concerns, working to get an ENDA that includes gender identity and expression. United ENDA is tracking the meetings to learn where this new Congress stands. Click here (unitedenda.org) go to fill out the Lobby Report Form available from United ENDA. It's the best way to let us know how your meeting went and whether your Representative and Senators expressed support.
- Help educate your congregation, family and friends.