September 01, 2014 · 6 Elul

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Diverse Array of National Faith Organizations Call for Senate Passage of Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Contact: Sean Thibault or Sophie Golomb
202.387.2800 | rac@rac.org

“Our faith traditions hold different and sometimes evolving beliefs about the nature of human sexuality and marriage as well as gender identity and gender expression, but we can all agree on the fundamental premise that every human being is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.”

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2013 — On Monday, November 4, the Senate will vote on cloture for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. In anticipation of the vote, sixty faith groups – including many national denominations – have joined together to urge passage of this historic civil rights legislation. The full text of their letter follows:

Dear Senator,

On behalf of our organizations, representing a diverse group of faith traditions and religious beliefs, we urge you to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) (S. 815). 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 that who they are or who they love could cost them a job. ENDA is a measured, common sense solution that will ensure workers are judged on their merits, not on their personal characteristics like sexual orientation or gender identity. We call on you to pass this important legislation without delay.

Many of our religious texts speak to the important 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 for their job security for reasons completely unrelated to their job performance.

Our faith traditions hold different and sometimes evolving beliefs about the nature of human sexuality and marriage as well as gender identity and gender expression, but we can all agree on the fundamental premise that every human being is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. In addition, any claims that ENDA harms religious liberty are misplaced. ENDA broadly exempts from its scope houses of worship as well as religiously affiliated organizations. This exemption – which covers the same religious organizations already exempted from the religious discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – should ensure that religious freedom concerns don’t hinder the passage of this critical legislation.

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

Sincerely,

Affirmation – Gay and Lesbian Mormons
African American Ministers in Action
American Conference of Cantors
American Jewish Committee
Anti-Defamation League
The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists
Believe Out Loud
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
B’nai B’rith International
Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests
Call To Action
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Dignity USA
Disciples Home Missions
The Episcopal Church
Equally Blessed
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Network
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Faith & Justice Project, Horizons Foundation
The Global Justice Institute
Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc
Hindu American Foundation
The Interfaith Alliance
Integrity USA
Islamic Society of North America
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Labor Committee
Jewish Women International
Keshet
Methodist Federation for Social Action
Metropolitan Community Churches
More Light Presbyterians
Mormons for Equality
Mormons Building Bridges
Muslims for Progressive Values
Nehirim
New Ways Ministry
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Progressive National Baptist Convention
The Rabbinical Assembly
Reconciling Works, Lutherans for Full Participation
The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Religious Institute
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)
Sojourners
Soulforce
Tru'ah
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association
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, General Board of Church and Society
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)
Women of Reform Judaism



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