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Letter to the Senate to vote YES for cloture on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of 2013 (S. 815)

November 04, 2013

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association and the students they serve, we urge you to vote YES for cloture on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of 2013 (S. 815). This bill represents a critical step in addressing basic civil rights in the workplace and votes associated with it may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress.

Employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers violates the core American values of fairness and equality, yet it is currently legal in more than half the states. NEA has a long-standing commitment to the elimination of discrimination in the workplace and all facets of society. We believe that all persons must have equal opportunity for employment, promotion, compensation, and leadership.

Too many educators have been victims of irrational employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Such discrimination not only destroys the lives and careers of innocent and committed education professionals, but also does real harm to the American system of public education and the children that system serves.

Some opponents of ENDA have argued employers should be free to discriminate against teachers, education support professionals, and others whose jobs entail working with children. We vigorously disagree. Many states, counties, and municipalities have enacted antidiscrimination measures similar to ENDA, and their positive experience shows that diversity among educators is a great asset—not a threat—to the profession and the students it serves.

Passage of ENDA will support the fundamental American ideal that individuals should be judged in the workplace by their ability to perform the job, not by prejudice and discrimination. Poll after poll of the American public shows overwhelming support, across party lines, for passage of anti-employment discrimination legislation.

NEA believes that America must take affirmative steps to end discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. Now is the time for Congress to end this indefensible practice. We urge your support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations