These are our fellow human beings… they’re not asking for anything other than the right to earn a living…. How can we, as people who make the laws… say to one small group of our fellow citizens, ‘You know there’s something about you that people do not like, so you are not eligible for work’?
Take Action today to pass the Employment Non Discrimination Act!
On Wednesday, September 23rd, the Labor and Education Committee of the House of Representatives held hearings for ENDA, the Employment Non Discrimination Act of 2009 (H.R. 3017), which guarantees the right to protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for all Americans.
Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) testified in strong support of the bill, as well as Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, William Eskridge, Yale Law school professor who has experienced job discrimination because of his sexual orientation, and Vandy Beth Glenn, a transgender woman who was fired from her Georgia state legislative job when she informed her supervisor that she was transitioning from male to female.
Among those who face sexual orientation and gender identity based employment discrimination, transgender employees are often the hardest hit. In his testimony, Brad Sears, Executive Director of the Willimas Institue at the UCLA School of Law cited a survey completed earlier this year: among over 640 transgender employees in both public and private sectors, 70% of respondents had experienced workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity. You can find links the full testimony of each witness as well as a webcast of the entire hearing here.
Despite unfounded criticism from opponents, many of whom are religious groups, the bill protects bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender employees from discrimination while including broad exemptions for religious organizations, the military, and employers with fewer than 15 employees. Representative Frank urged his colleagues to remember that:
As people of faith, it is imperative that we show our strong support for this bill, which would bring justice to millions of Americans who face daily discrimination simply because of who they are or who they love.
Contact your Representatives today and ask them to support ENDA.