Call Your Representative to Say You Support ENDA
Among my friends there is some confusion about what is happening in Washington these days with regard to GLBT civil rights. Many worked hard for the Matthew Shepherd-James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Bill and were thrilled when it was passed and signed by President Obama. They think the work in Congress is done, at least for the time being. Not so.
Making its way slowly through House and Senate Committees is the ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it unlawful to discriminate against a GLBT person in employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity (www.equalityfederation.org/enda/). This action is the companion to the hate crimes legislation to help end the fear that haunts GLBT people — in this case, the constant fear of losing our job if our employer knows who we are.
Imagine what a different world it will be when the law of the land protects the well-being of GLBT people in the Hate Crimes Act and their livelihoods in a national Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Imagine what energy and imagination will be unleashed when our GLBT neighbors and co-workers can direct their energy outward rather than inward for self-protection or constant wariness in the world. That’s how important these bills in Congress are.
It is very important to me that my church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) supports both the Matthew Shepherd-James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention law and ENDA. I want to shout this from the rooftops!
The Presbyterian Church has supported such guarantees of GLBT civil rights and protections since 1978 when the Definitive Guidance, the first statement of the United Presbyterian Church USA regarding GLBT people, said:
“Vigilance must be exercised…to initiate and support federal, state, and local legislation that prohibits discrimination against persons on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodation.”
Every Presbyterian and Presbyterian Church is encouraged to work toward these ends — including right now, to push for the passage of ENDA in the House and Senate.
You can call the main number at the Capitol at (202) 224-3121 and be connected to your representatives and senators to tell them to vote for ENDA. The PCUSA encourages you all to do this. On this, we must all stand together.