On December 6th and 7th -- as the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles met for its 118th annual convention -- the Diocesan LGBT Ministry offered convention goers the opportunity to sign onto this letter to House Speaker John Boehner urging a vote on ENDA:
The Honorable John Boehner Speaker
United States House of Representatives
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Speaker:
We are Episcopalians gathered in Ontario, California for the 118th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Los Angeles. We represent over 70,000 Episcopalians in 147 neighborhood congregations located in six Southern California counties -- and we write to urge you to act swiftly and bring up S. 815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) for a vote in the House of Representatives.
As you know, the Senate passed S. 815 on November 7 in a bipartisan vote of 64-32. ENDA provides a commonsense solution to the problem of workplace discrimination by extending critical employment protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers. The version of ENDA introduced in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1755, currently has 193 bipartisan cosponsors. ENDA has engendered such widespread support because it embodies the American ideal of fairness: employees should be judged on their skills and abilities in the workplace, not on their sexual orientation or gender identity. All U.S. workers deserve to be judged on the quality of the job they do, nothing more, nothing less.
In 2009 at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, we adopted a resolution supporting "the extension of existing federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination to include discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression along with those prohibitions based on race, gender, religion, national origin, age and disability." And now it is 2013 and -- with bipartisan support in both chambers -- the time has come to give ENDA what it deserves: an up or down vote in the House.
We urge you to allow a vote on ENDA on the House floor before the end of the year. Thank you for your consideration of our views on this important matter.
The first three signatures were from our bishops: Bishop Jon Bruno, Bishop Diane Bruce and Bishop Mary Glasspool. And they were joined by nearly 400 (386 to be precise!) other clergy and lay leaders in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
Today that letter -- with signatures attached -- is on its way to join all the others on Speaker Boehner's desk urging action on ENDA: letters from fair minded Americans who know that liberty and justice for all in this nation is still a work in progress while LGBT workers can lose their jobs simply for being gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
We send it off believing that our signatures on this letter will be outward and visible signs of the seeds of hope the Diocese of Los Angeles continues to sow and in hopes that others might go and do likewise.
We send it off to do our part in the work of keeping the pressure up and keeping the movement moving.
And we send it off believing that together we can end discrimination, we can heal homophobia and we can truly become a nation where liberty and justice for all really means "all."
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