A Policy Alert from The Episcopal Public Policy Network
"Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this landwho live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constantcompanions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to theseour neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equalprotection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that everyone of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through JesusChrist our Lord. Amen."
--The Book of Common Prayer
Many Americans do not realize that under current federal law, itis entirely legal to fire, hire, demote, promote, and make all otheremployment decisions based on real or perceived sexual orientation andgender identity and expression regardless of workplace performance. Specifically, it is legal to discriminate based upon sexual orientation in29 states and based upon gender identity or expression in 38 states. Toprevent further discrimination, Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) andIIeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and SusanCollins (R-ME) have introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA),which would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination onthe basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
ENDA would prohibit employers, employment agencies, labororganizations, or joint labor-management committees from discriminatingagainst individuals on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientationor gender identity. It prohibits the use of sexual orientation and genderidentity as a basis for determining the compensation, terms, conditions, orprivileges of employment. However, the bill explicitly exempts religiousorganizations from these requirements, protecting the First Amendment andCivil Rights protections of religious organizations who consider ENDA to becontrary to their doctrines and principles. No religious organization willbe compelled to violate their doctrines and principles.
Biblical tradition teaches us that all human beings are createdin the Divine image. As it says in Genesis 1:27, "And God created humans inGod's own image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female Godcreated them." Regardless of context, discrimination against any personarising from apathy, insensitivity, ignorance, fear, or hatred isinconsistent with this fundamental belief. As people of faith, we firmlyoppose discrimination against all individuals, including gays and lesbians,for the stamp of the Divine is present in each and every one of us.
Clickhere to support and co-sponsor the EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act.
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Episcopal Public Policy Network
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1-800-228-0515, (202) 547-7300, FAX (202) 547-4457
On the Web: www.episcopalchurch.org/eppn
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