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Ms. Laser, "This bill will help ensure that people are judged in the workplace based on the quality of their work, and not based on who they love. Its passage would be a crucial step in the journey toward full equality for LGBT people in America."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 25, 2013 - In support of the introduction of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act - which would expand current workplace protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity - Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center, released the following statement:
"We welcome today's introduction of the bi-partisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act. This bill, the product of collaboration by Senators Merkley and Kirk and Representatives Polis and Ros-Lehtinen, will help ensure that people are judged in the workplace based on the qualityof their work, and not based on who they love. Its passage would be a crucial step in the journey toward full equality for LGBT people in America.
In 29 states it is legal to fire, refuse to hire, demote or fail to promote an employee because of his or her sexual orientation and in 34 states it is legal to do so based on gender identity. This legally sanctioned discrimination has profound and dire effects on the LGBT community, contributing to higher rates of poverty and unemployment in the LGBT community. It is also bad for business - which is why 87% of Fortune 500 companies already bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and 46% do the same for gender identity.
As in earlier drafts, the proposed bill includes a broad religious exemption consistent with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which has proven a reliable and widely accepted way of balancing concerns of religious freedom and equal rights for all. We call for Congress speedy consideration of this bill so that we as a nation may begin to realize that equality.
The Religious Action Center was founded over fifty years ago to bring the voice and commitment of the Reform Jewish community to the Civil Rights movement. Today, we remain committed to ensuring the civil rights of all Americans are protected, including members of the LGBT community, and look forward to the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and to furthering the cause of equality in America."