Wednesday, November 07, 2007

ENDA Passed Today in US House of Reps

Hopefully many of you were on the call with Harry Knox and myself last Thursday for this month's God, Gays & You Live Interview Series call. Harry is the Religion & Faith Director for HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and today they released a major bulletin I pasted below.

It was an amazing call and I've gotten several emails thanking us for having him as a guest. Be sure to join us next month to be with Valerie Joi Fiddmont...musician, gospel choir director, partner to Rev. Deborah Johnson and the woman who delivers the "a-ha" comment in our movie. Be sure you're on our email list (sign up to the right) to get the call details. As sometimes we've had recording challenges, it's best to be on the call to make sure you don't miss it!

Here's the HRC bulletin on ENDA...feel free to comment on the decision to move forward lobbying without protecting transgender people in ENDA.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

We are one step closer to our ultimate goal of ensuring that all GLBT Americans no longer live in fear of losing their jobs.

The progress we've made today is historic - it is the first time either house of Congress has passed employment protections of this kind. It took over 30 years of lobbying and grassroots political work to get to this point, and while the bill that finally passed was not the fully inclusive version we sought, this represents a major advance - and the best way to move towards our long-term goal of protecting our entire community.

HRC first helped introduce ENDA 13 years ago, to prevent workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. This year, gender identity was added to the bill. Unfortunately, gender identity was not covered in the version that passed today, but this vote was a first and absolutely necessary step towards equality for GLBT people in the workplace.

That's why HRC joined with a coalition of major civil rights groups who declared support for the bill before the final vote, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR includes more than 192 national civil rights organizations), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), and the National Education Association (NEA).

Supporting this version of the bill was a difficult and painful decision. But, without a doubt, the only path to achieving a bill protecting our whole community was by achieving the successful House vote today. A defeat of ENDA would have set back the possibility of an inclusive bill for many, many years.

HRC remains 100% committed to doing the hard work necessary to pass legislation that protects our entire community, including transgender workers who remain especially vulnerable to workplace discrimination.