Ms. Laser, "This vote demonstrates that the Senate is ready to put aside partisan differences to ensure that all Americans can earn a living without fear of discrimination based on who they are or whom they love."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 10, 2013 - After the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today, Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism released the following statement:
"We are encouraged by todays historic bi-partisan of 15-7 vote in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to advance a fully-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. This vote demonstrates that the Senate is ready to put aside partisan differences to ensure that all Americans can earn a living without fear of discrimination based on who they are or whom they love. We urge the rest of the Senate to continue this spirit of collaboration as this landmark legislation moves to the Senate floor.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act addresses a significant moral and economic problem confronting our nation today. It is past time that our country's federal workplace protections_ which already extend to race, sex, religion, national origin, pregnancy and disability _ include sexual orientation and gender identity. We can no longer accept the fact that LGBT families and individuals suffer higher rates of unemployment and poverty because discrimination in the workplace is still permissible in over half of the states in our country.
ENDA is a common-sense solution that resonates deeply with our values as Jews and as Americans. This bill aspires to the American promise of equal opportunity and meritocracy by ensuring that people are judged in the workplace based solely on their ability to perform the job rather than on personal characteristics. It embodies the belief, so fundamental to the social justice work we do as a Movement, that all people are created b'tselem elohim, in the image of the divine, and thus are entitled to be treated with fairness and dignity.
ENDA has received an outpouring of support from the general public, the business community and the religious community. This last point is of particular importance to the Reform Movement, as the Religious Action Center coordinated a recent letter in support of ENDA signed by over fifty religious organizations including nine national denominations.
We hope that both the Senate and the House of Representatives heed this powerful show of support and move quickly to pass this critical and overdue legislation."