With Congressional Action looming, HRC's No Excuses Campaign Engaged
(WASHINGTON D.C.) – The Human Rights Campaign announced today that as Congressional action looms on the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), it is extending the grassroots "No Excuses" campaign to increase constituent contact with Congress and awareness of the comprehensive website: PassENDANow.org.
ENDA, which has been introduced in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. HRC also launched a national action alert this week to grassroots members and supporters urging them to contact Congress and express their support for a fully-inclusive ENDA.
“We need to step up the important work of telling Congress our personal stories and explaining the additional hardship we face in protecting our families, our loved ones and our jobs,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Congress is moving forward to protect Americans from arbitrary discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Like our neighbors and coworkers, LGBT people simply want a fair chance to succeed and support our families.”
HRC plans to release details next week on its participation of a national call-in day organized by a coalition of groups urging members and supporters to call the Congressional switchboard in support of ENDA. Meanwhile, HRC members and supporters have been overwhelmingly responsive this week to the organization’s national call to action on ENDA by sending off more than 62,000 emails or letters to members of Congress and newspapers urging for swift passage.
Earlier this summer, HRC launched a national, grassroots campaign called “No Excuses” to demand action from Congress on key issues of equality, including a fully inclusive ENDA. Designed to take advantage of the congressional summer recess, when members are in their local offices and meeting with constituents, “No Excuses” helped mobilize HRC's members and their allies to meet directly with lawmakers and push for federal legislative change.
On November 5, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held the Senate’s first-ever hearing on a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity. The lead sponsors of the measure include Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Susan Collins (R-ME). The legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate on August 5 of this year; a House version was introduced on June 24 and the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on the measure on September 23.
An estimated 87% of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their equal employment policies, and more than one-third also include gender identity. More than 80 companies have joined the Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness, a group of leading U.S. employers that support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
ENDA is supported by a broad range of civil rights, religious, civic and professional organizations, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, NAACP, AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union, AFSCME, National Education Association, National Employment Lawyers Association, Anti-Defamation League, Union for Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, American Civil Liberties Union, and many others.
Currently, federal law provides legal protection against employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability, but not sexual orientation or gender identity. In 29 states across America, it is still legal to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation, and in 38 states, it is still legal to fire someone for being transgender.