Thursday, December 5, 2013

Diocese of Los Angeles Urges Action on ENDA

by the Reverend Canon Susan Russell

As Diocese of Los Angeles Episcopalians prepare to gather for their 118th Annual Diocesan Convention (December 6-7) the Diocesan LGBT Ministry is preparing to gather signatures from convention delegates on this letter urging Speaker Boehner to bring ENDA -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – to a vote in the House.
The Honorable John Boehner
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.


Our three Los Angeles bishops – Jon Bruno, Diane Bruce and Mary Glasspool – have agreed to be the first three signers of the letter we hope will add to the increasing pressure on House leadership to bring this important bill to the floor.

"Seeds of Hope" is the theme of this year’s convention. And I believe our signatures on this letter will be outward and visible signs of the seeds of hope the Diocese of Los Angeles continues to sow – hope that together we can end discrimination, heal homophobia and truly respect the dignity of every human being.

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell has served as Integrity's President and is currently the convener of Claiming the Blessing, a national collaborative ministry focused on the full inclusion of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender baptized into the Episcopal Church. A senior associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena CA, she is also a founding member of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion Council and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post's religion forum. Her personal blog may be found at An Inch at a Time.

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