Coalition Letter to Senators of the 107th Congress requesting support of

October 6, 2002

Dear Senator:

We, the undersigned national religious organizations, urge you to support bringing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to the floor, S. 1284, and passing it before Congress adjourns. ENDA is a modest measure that would extend employment protections to sexual orientation currently provided on the basis of race, gender, and disability, thereby repairing the injustice that allows gay and lesbian Americans to suffer discrimination in the workplace. Five months have passed since the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee voted to move this bill forward to the full Senate. As months continue to pass, so continues this injustice.

Under current federal law, it is entirely legal to fire, hire, demote, promote, and make all other employment decisions based on real or perceived sexual orientation regardless of workplace performance. As people of faith who stand for the equality and dignity of all people, we find this reprehensible.

Biblical tradition teaches us that all human beings are created in the Divine image. As it says in Genesis 1:27, "And God created humans in God's own image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female God created them." Regardless of context, discrimination against any person arising from apathy, insensitivity, ignorance, fear, or hatred is inconsistent with this fundamental belief. We oppose discrimination against all individuals, including gays and lesbians for the stamp of the Divine is present in each and every one of us.

The overwhelming majority of the American public - 83 percent - supports ENDA and equal rights for gays and lesbians in the workplace. Over 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies have policies consistent with ENDA.

The legislation has been endorsed by a wide variety of religious organizations, women's groups, labor unions, civil rights organizations, and businesses. We join with them in calling on you to stand up for basic fairness in the workplace for all Americans by supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Thank you for your attention to this crucial bill.

Sincerely,

Central Conference of American Rabbis
Church of the Brethren
Episcopal Church, USA
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Presbyterian Church (USA), Washington Office
The Interfaith Alliance
Union of American Hebrew Congregations
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Unitarian Universalist Association
Women of Reform Judaism