Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced in the U.S. Senate today.
August 5, 2009
written by Mike Schuenemeyer
A fully inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced today in the Senate with bipartisan support. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), joined by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), introduced the bill, which would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
A fully inclusive House version of the bill (H.R. 3017) was introduced by Rep. Barney Frank on June 24 and now has 152 co-sponsors. It is currently being considered in committee. President Obama has already declared his support for ENDA.
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.
100's of organizations, are working with members of congress to get an inclusive 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."
Relevant UCC General Synod Resolutions include:
- Please contact your Senators and Representative to let them know that you support an inclusive ENDA. Meet with them during the August recess in their district or regional offices to help them understand the importance of a transgender inclusive ENDA. To find your elected officials, click here.
- Help educate your congregation, family and friends.