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Your most up-to-speed information source about what's happening with the inclusion efforts for ALL LGBT people by United ENDA SF. Don't be shy, contact us for any reason. -Your United ENDA SF Campaign Team ////////////////////////////////////// The United ENDA SF coalition, constituted by national and local organizations based in the Bay Area, is resolutely committed to passage of comprehensive employment non-discrimination protections for all LGBT Americans, and to just treatment of LGBT Americans more broadly. The United ENDA SF coalition is affiliated with the national United ENDA coalition, a group of over 300 organizations also committed to passage of an inclusive federal employment non-discrimination bill (for more information about United ENDA, please visit www.unitedENDA.org). Members of the United ENDA SF coalition (in process): And Castro for All The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club The Pacific Center Pride at Work The National Center for Lesbian Rights The San Francisco LGBT Community Center The Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club The Transgender Law Center


LAMBDA LAW: One Community. One ENDA.

On Sept. 27, with no consultation with the community, members of Congress announced that they had decided to rush a new version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that does not include gender identity to a vote in the House of Representatives. The inclusive bill is HR 2015, and the non trans-inclusive version is HR 3685.

This would not only deny protections to transgender people, but also fail to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual people who do not conform to other people’s expectations (such as “effeminate” men and “masculine” women).

After an unprecedented outpouring of anger and frustration from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community — including a statement signed by more than 350 leading organizations who oppose this strategy — House leadership announced on Oct. 1 it was postponing action for a short period of time. However, on Thursday, Oct. 18, the House Education and Labor Committee nonetheless approved the sexual orientation-only bill.

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) has proposed an amendment to this bill that will add the gender identity provisions back into it. While our preferred strategy would be to only advance the fully inclusive ENDA in the first place, we recognize Rep. Baldwin’s effort as our last best chance to get these protections back into ENDA. Her amendment will be considered on the House floor the week of Oct. 22.

That gives us a short window of time for all of us to get Congress moving again on an inclusive ENDA, not leave any part of our community behind and stop the non-inclusive bill. It is critical that your representative hear from you, saying that you expect him or her to: support the Baldwin amendment that would repair ENDA so that it protects all LGBT people..

Please e-mail your U.S. representative now.

Call your representative now — Use these talking points.

Here are other action steps you can take.

Weakened ENDA Means Less Protection for Everyone

"Definitions of who is protected by the bill leave gaping loopholes so that no one will be fully protected against discrimination. Congress should finish the work it began 44 years ago when it made employment discrimination based on sex illegal, and once and for all rid the workplace of sexual stereotypes."


The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and the Transgender Law Center are dedicated to establishing and preserving the civil rights and civil liberties of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Between us, we have been responsible for most of the public interest litigation about the rights of LGBT people in this country.

We have been working for the day when the federal government makes the workplace discrimination LGBT people face illegal since the first such proposal was introduced in Congress in 1976. But as much as we wish that day had already arrived, it will not do much good if all we get is a bill that would not protect our community's basic rights. While the first version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) introduced this year would have protected our community, the version introduced last week would not.

We see three significant problems with this weakened version of the bill:

1. Protections for transgender people were removed.
2. Definitions of who is protected by the bill leave gaping loopholes so that no one will be fully protected against discrimination.
3. The blanket exemption for religious employers is broader than the exemptions in other civil rights laws and leaves many workers with no legal protections.

1. Protections for transgender people were removed. This is unacceptable. Transgender people have been a part of our community's fight for civil rights since it began, and there is no principled reason to pass a law that does not cover gender identity and expression. We have come too far in our understanding of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and gender identity to leave anyone behind, unprotected by law.

2. Definitions of who is protected by the bill leave gaping loopholes so that not even lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are likely to be fully protected against discrimination. This new version of the bill says that it prohibits discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, which it defines as "homosexuality, heterosexuality or bisexuality." That definition not only leaves out transgender people, but creates a gaping loophole that we are concerned may leave out others as well.

There is a serious risk that courts will say a law banning only sexual orientation discrimination offers no protection to men who are fired because their employers think they are effeminate and women who are fired because employers think them too masculine. Focusing on the definition of sexual orientation, courts may well say that Congress only intended this new version of ENDA to cover discrimination against a person because of the simple fact that he or she is or is thought to be gay, straight, or bisexual and could further say that sexual orientation is defined only by a person's choice of sexual or relationship partners. In other words, the courts could rule that the law does not cover discrimination because a person is seen as not meeting others' expectations of how a "real" man or woman should look and act. Congress could have included that kind of gender nonconformity and stereotypes in ENDA, they may rule, but quite explicitly chose not to.

While some might argue that the prohibition on discrimination based on "actual or perceived" sexual orientation protects against that, courts might rule that an employer has not violated this new version of ENDA if the employer simply says that it has no problem with gay people but just did not want a worker whom the employer thinks was too feminine or masculine — something an employer might say about almost any gay man, lesbian or bisexual. That is why the protection this new version of the bill purports to provide could prove illusory for many people.

If this sounds unlikely, it isn't. We have already seen very similar, super technical interpretations of what is prohibited under laws that ban discrimination based on marital status, sex or disability.

Moreover, discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity at some level are all discrimination based on stereotypes about what is or is not appropriate for men and women; what jobs are appropriate, what relationships are appropriate, what kind of personal and public identity is appropriate. Trying to split them apart makes little sense and invites the kind of legal hairsplitting that has made so many civil rights laws less effective.

Splitting sexual orientation from gender identity in ENDA would also have the perverse effect of leaving those who most need the protections of federal law out in the cold. Between our organizations, we have many, many years of experience working with people who have been discriminated against. No one suffers more than those who appear most visibly to depart from the conventions of gender.

Congress should finish the work it began 44 years ago when it made employment discrimination based on sex illegal, and once and for all rid the workplace of sexual stereotypes.

3. The blanket exemption for religious employers is broader than the exemptions in other civil rights laws and leaves many workers with no legal protections. Every federal civil rights law has a limited exemption for religious organizations. The 1964 Civil Rights Act says it is not illegal religious discrimination for a religious organization to give preferences to members of its own church. The Americans With Disabilities Act (the ADA) has a similar exemption, and also allows a religious organization to require employees to comply with its religious tenets.

The first version of ENDA this year had exemptions for churches and for jobs outside the church for ministers and religious teachers and administrators. It also allowed religious groups to require people who work for them in other jobs to comply with all the major tenets of the religion. But this first version of ENDA did not allow employers to refuse to hire someone just because of a religious objection to LGBT people. If employers chose to require adherence to religious tenets, their policy had to require compliance with all major tenets including those, for example, about marriage and divorce. Under this earlier version of ENDA, if employers such as hospitals and universities did not require adherence to all of their major religious tenets, they could not invoke the religious exemption only to single out and discriminate against LGBT people..

The newest version exempts all religious groups from the law completely. It is not a broad exemption; it is a total exemption. It would give religiously affiliated hospitals, social service agencies, shelters and universities complete freedom to discriminate against LGBT people.

Sincerely held religious belief has been used to justify segregation, race discrimination, sex discrimination, and discrimination against people with disabilities, not in the 19th century, but within the last 25 years. And while the separation of church and state may require some accommodation of religious bodies, what is new about this latest version of ENDA — and unacceptable – is the idea that civil rights protections should completely give way to religious organizations. What people choose to believe, and how they choose to worship are their business, and the Constitution rightly keeps the government out of it. But when an employer uses religion to justify taking away a job from an orderly, custodian, secretary, social worker or doctor, the government has an overriding interest in preserving equal opportunity.

It should be no different with discrimination against LGBT people. Congress should treat religiously held beliefs that being gay is sinful just as it treated religiously held beliefs that women are unequal and that segregation was God's law. It should uphold a person's right to believe it, but keep it out of the workplace.


Our common goal is passage of a fair and inclusive employment non-discrimination statute and we pledge to work with members of Congress to ensure that the new law serves its important purpose — securely to protect our community against workplace discrimination. A law that does not actually do that is a law not worth having.

Lambda Legal Supports an INCLUSIVE ENDA

The United States House of Representatives passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), in a 235-184 vote, providing federal workplace protections for gays and lesbians, but not transgender people.

Lambda Legal issued the following statement in response to the vote. Executive Director Kevin Cathcart said:

“Last night, the House passed a narrowed down version of ENDA — a moment that was both historic and for many of us disappointing. The vote was one step in a long struggle that started decades ago in Congress. There are many steps still to go, including passage by the Senate and signature by the president before any version of ENDA can become law. Today, we are looking ahead and ready to continue to work for a stronger, fully inclusive ENDA that will protect all LGBT people against employment discrimination. We have been inspired by the activism and enormous dedication of so many people and organizations that stood up and spoke out about equality. At Lambda Legal, we provided our legal expertise and analysis about the strengths and weaknesses of both versions of the bill, and we will continue to help shape a law that will work. It has taken years of education and advocacy to reach this point in history. We are closer than ever to passing a strong inclusive ENDA into law — we cannot lose heart now, and we cannot leave anyone behind.”

Arguments in favor of ENDA

Most proponents of the law intend it to address cases where gay, lesbian and/or transgender employees have been discriminated against by their employer because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently, these employees are unable to find protection in the judicial system of most US states. Proponents argue that such a law is appropriate in light of the US Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process to all. Advocates say that being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is not a "lifestyle," but an identity[4], and that the "special rights" argument does not apply to a group subject to widespread prejudice. According to a study published in 2001 by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation are roughly equal to those on race or gender.[5] There are also studies showing that local anti-discrimination laws are ineffective, and federal law is needed.[6]

The bill exempts small businesses, religious organizations and the military. Religious businesses (such as Christian book stores) are not exempted.

Cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office from 2002 show that the EEOC estimated that their complaint caseload would rise by only 5 to 7%.[7] Regarding constitutionality, the act incorporates language similar to that of [Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964] which has consistently been upheld by the Courts.

Breaking News & Opinion from the Bay Area Reporter

Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, will recount highlights from the recent Transgender Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. during a forum Wednesday, April 30 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street in San Francisco.
The lobby day, sponsored by the National Center for Transgender Equality, was held April 15. Members of Congress from more than 28 states received visits from transgender people and allies who talked with them about the need for employment protections, hate crime legislation, and the need for privacy and documentation rights.
Wednesday’s forum is presented by United ENDA California Coalition, which was formed last fall during the brouhaha over the stripping gender identity from the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The House passed a sexual orientation-only version of ENDA, but the issue has stalled in the Senate.

Filed by Cynthia Laird in News


Trans 101

Support The Trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act!

Support The Trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act!
(H.R. 2015)

The US House of Representatives is considering a bill to ban employment
discrimination against LGBT people. However, Leadership in the House
of Representatives announced they were moving forward with a
nondiscrimination bill that would NOT include protections for
transgender people and other LGBT Americans.

The outcry from the LGBT community has been intense, and united. We
have stood together -- especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area --
and said that we would rather have no ENDA than a bill that leaves some
of us behind.

Already, we are changing the course of Congress and the course of
history, as committee votes get posponed and deliberations continue.
But that doesn't mean were out of the woods: Especially now, we need to
make sure every Member of Congress hears from constituents urging him