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Reform Movement Coordinates Faith Letter Urging Senate to Pass Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Signatories: ENDA is a measured, common sense solution that will ensure workers are judged on their merits, not on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Contact: Sean Thibault or Noah Baron
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

Washington, D.C. June 12, 2012 - The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism coordinated andreleased a letter to members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions(HELP) signed by 37 faith groups urging the members of the Committee to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S.811), which would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and includes a strong religious liberty exemption. To this day LGBT Americans face prejudice in hiring, firing, and promotion, whichthreatens both their and their families' livelihood. The full text of the letter follows:


Religious Organizations Letter in Support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA, S. 811)

June 12, 2012

Dear Senator,

On behalf of our organizations, representing a diverse group of faith traditions and religious beliefs, we urge you to support S. 811, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). As a nation, we cannot tolerate arbitrary discrimination against millions of Americans just because of who they are. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people should be able to earn a living, provide for their families and contribute to our society without fear. ENDA is a measured, common sense solution that will ensure workers are judged on their merits, not on their sexual orientation or gender identity. We call on you to pass this important legislation without delay.

Many of our sacred texts speak to the importance and sacred nature of work - an opportunity to be co-creators with God - and demand in the strongest possible terms the protection of all workers as a matter of justice. Our faith leaders and congregations grapple with the difficulties of lost jobs every day, particularly in these difficult economic times. It is indefensible that, while sharing every American's concerns about the health of our economy, LGBT workers must also fear job security because of prejudice.

At the same time, as religious denominations and faith groups, we deeply value our guarantee to the freedoms of faith and conscience under the First Amendment. ENDA broadly exempts from its scope any religious organization, thereby ensuring that religious institutions will not be compelled to violate the religious precepts on which they are founded, whether or not we may agree with those precepts. In so doing, ENDA respects the protections for religious institutions afforded by the First Amendment and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 while ensuring that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are protected from baseless discrimination in the workplace.

We urge Congress to swiftly pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 811) and ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have an equal opportunity to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families.


Sincerely,

African American Ministers in Action
Alliance of Baptists
American Conference of Cantors
American Friends Service Committee
American Jewish Committee
Anti-Defamation League
Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice
B'nai B'rith International
Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests
Central Conference of American Rabbis
DignityUSA
Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ)
The Episcopal Church
Fortunate Families
Friends Committee on National Legislation
GLAD Alliance (Disciples of Christ)
Hindu American Foundation
Interfaith Alliance
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Women International
Metropolitan Community Churches
Muslims for Progressive Values
National Black Justice Coalition
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A
National Council of Jewish Women
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness
Progressive Christians Uniting
Rabbinical Assembly
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Institute Justice Team
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Church of Christ, Office for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Ministries
United Church of Christ, Wider Church Ministries
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Women of Reform Judaism



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