Indiana Equality believes that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities should be engaged in a national dialog about the need for full inclusion in the federal Civil Rights code.  There is a window of opportunity now that may not come for another generation.  If we push for less than full inclusion, it may be more difficult to motivate public support for full civil right protections.  We should not ask for less than we need.

Anything less than full inclusion is unacceptable.  Accordingly, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (END) as currently proposed, cannot be accepted, supported or promoted by Indiana Equality.

It has become evident that adding LGBT persons to local and state civil rights laws is not only possible but crucial.  Adding only the right to employment at the Federal level will do little to protect the civil rights of all citizens.

It is the beginning of a new era, and many state organizations have proven that ‘better’ is attainable.  Just as the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for full civil rights inclusion, LGBT persons must expect full protections and rights.

A Realistic View of ENDA

Clearly, ENDA doesn’t make us equal – rather, it creates a new form of segregation.  It does not provide protections in housing and public accommodations.  There are no protections for LGBT children in the public schools where administrators continue to turn a blind eye to harassment and brutality.  With ENDA, we are only marginally protected in the workplace.

LGBT citizens have a unique opportunity today to secure full civil rights protections. Thus, Indiana Equality believes that:

  • State level efforts to have fully inclusive civil rights language added to state codes could be adversely affected if ENDA, as currently proposed, was to be enacted
  • Incrementalism on civil rights has rarely succeeded
  • LGBT people are de facto second-class citizens, but a bill to secure only one civil right for us would treat us, de jure, as different from any other minority–and effectively second class
  • We now have an unprecedented opportunity to push for full civil equality, protecting our individual liberties and our families in the areas of employment, housing, education, and public accommodations
  • Creating a separate coverage for sexual orientation and gender identity/expression sends the message that these classifications are somehow less worthy than others of protection and support

Indiana Equality urges a national discussion regarding of the need for full inclusion in the federal Civil Rights Act.  What we need is what we should seek.

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