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Updated: Support LGBT Employment Non-Discrimination Act

On July 21, President Obama signed an executive order protecting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This is a great first step, but Congress must also act.

On November 7, the Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban employment decisions on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill passed the Senate in a bipartisan vote of 64-32, but it now moves to the House, where it faces tough opposition. Contact your Senators about their vote on ENDA and urge your Representatives to support the bill!

In 29 states it is legal to be denied a job, fired, or passed over for a promotion on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Hadassah is a long time advocate for equal rights—for women, minorities, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community—and vigorously condemns discrimination of any kind. In 2006, Hadassah passed a policy statement on LGBT Equality, supporting the passage of state and federal civil rights legislation to protect against hate crimes and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Hadassah was proud to join with other religious organizations in a joint letter urging Congress to pass this legislation. “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 order to respect religious liberty, the legislation does include an exception for religious organizations as defined in the Civil Rights Act. This afternoon, the Senate voted down an amendment that would have expanded this exception, which would have potentially opened the door for a wide range of employers to discriminate.

ENDA is a common sense piece of legislation that will ensure all workers—regardless of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity—are protected from discrimination. Make your voice heard! Urge your Representatives to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act today.

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