WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign launched a nationwide call to action to the organization's 700,000 members and supporters to begin an immediate campaign to urge their Members of Congress to support ENDA legislation the protects the entire GLBT organization. To view the Call to Action from Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese and to take immediate action online, please go to: www.passendanow.org
In addition to the written Call to Action, HRC President Joe Solmonese taped the following video message personally asking each of our members and supporters to have their voices heard on Capitol Hill in support of a fully inclusive ENDA bill. To view the video, go to: www.hrc.org
Solmonese's Call to Action is below:
"Late last week, House leaders announced their decision to change the language of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) so that it only includes sexual orientation and not gender identity. These House leaders have said that they do not have enough votes to move forward with the original fully-inclusive bill.
We are profoundly disappointed by this move, and I want to explain our position and ask you to write your congress member today.
Tell your representative we need an employment discrimination law that includes the entire GLBT community.
Since 2004, the Human Rights Campaign's policy has been to only support civil rights legislation that is inclusive of gender identity - a policy that was reaffirmed by our Board of Directors in a vote on Monday night.
That's why we fought tirelessly for - and won - Congressional approval for a hate crimes bill that includes gender identity, and have been working for years to pass an inclusive employment discrimination bill.
This year we ramped up our lobby presence on the Hill, helped coordinate broad coalition efforts, and deployed our field team to more than 40 key congressional districts to mobilize unprecedented support for an inclusive ENDA. We secured the active support of corporate America, with more than 50 major companies joining our Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness. Our Religion and Faith Program was instrumental as well, giving voice to thousands of faith leaders across the country. We secured supportive editorials from a record number of newspapers, and with your help we generated hundreds of thousands of constituent contacts to members of Congress, through emails, phone calls, postcards, and thousands of hand-written letters.
However, we're facing a stark reality. The House leadership and bill sponsors are moving forward with a non-inclusive ENDA - even without the full support of our community. They view this as the best opportunity this year to get a successful vote on legislation extending protections to the largest number of people.
I want you to know we made every possible effort to avoid having a non-inclusive bill introduced and we did succeed in helping convince Congressional leaders to delay action on the new bill until later this month.
We now have a window of opportunity to try and line up the votes we need to pass a fully-inclusive ENDA.
We've delivered HRC's message to Congress, but I'm asking you today to send your own message. Your Representative must understand that supporters of equality will not rest until rights are extended to everyone in the GLBT community.
Tell your Representative you stand behind legislation that will provide the same protections to all GLBT people.
This has been a long battle. HRC first started the quest for ENDA in 1994. We've been pushing for an inclusive bill since 2004. This month, ENDA could pass the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in history.
I implore you to take action today and to forward this message to your family and friends. Working together, I am confident we can pass historic civil rights legislation."
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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