ENDA Memorial calling for a fully inclusive act preventing discrimination on employment passed by the 2013 Churchwide Assembly

Bp Hanson

ReconcilingWorks thanks all who worked so hard to bring this memorial resolution before their synod assembly for passage.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) memorial, submitted to the assembly by the Eastern North Dakota, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana, Eastern Washington-Idaho, South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, Southwestern Texas, Saint Paul Area, Sierra Pacific, Northwest Washington, Greater Milwaukee, Southwest California, Minneapolis Area, Metropolitan New York, Northwestern Minnesota, Upstate New York, Northeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Southwestern Minnesota, Southwestern Pennsylvania, Metropolitan Washington, D.C., and Indiana-Kentucky synods was passed by the assembly without debate.

Assembly Action

To receive with gratitude the memorials of the synods regarding their concern for the important issue of employment non-discrimination and their common cause in memorializing the 2013 Churchwide Assembly;

To acknowledge the continued lack of state and federal anti-discrimination workplace laws addressing the categories of sexual identity and gender identity and the recent and recurring proposals 2013 Pre-Assembly Report: Report of the Memorials Committee Section VII • Page 17 ( As of August 7, 2013 ) concerning the employment non-discrimination legislation, including a proposal to provide a religious exemption;

To recommit this church to principles of non-discrimination in employment and to call for other employers to engage in similar practices;

To affirm the work by the ELCA advocacy ministries and Corporate Social Responsibility Team in supporting employment non-discrimination legislation and request that they continue to support legislation that opposes workplace discrimination;

To request that the presiding bishop of this church communicate to members of Congress the support of the ELCA for legislation that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity while providing for religious exemptions; and

To encourage all ELCA synods, congregations, and members to add their voices in support of legislation that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Memorials Committee had this to say to the assembly regarding the ELCA’s history with this subject:

“The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has been on record as being generally opposed to the forces of discrimination in society and in support of specific legislation to prevent discrimination in the workplace, according to certain classes protected by law. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is an attempt in recent sessions of Congress to include sexual orientation and gender identity as part of federal workplace non-discrimination law and to make enforcement processes similar to previous federal civil rights and workplace discrimination law. As noted in these synodical memorials, not all states have state laws in place to prevent discrimination in the workplace, nor for hiring and firing decisions based on these categories. In fact, as of 2007 data, it is legal in 31 states to fire or refuse to hire because of a person’s sexual orientation and legal in 39 states to do so based solely on an individual’s gender identity.

“As noted in the memorials, the ELCA has addressed the issue of employment non-discrimination in its recent social statement, Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust (2009). The first social statement of the ELCA, The Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective (1991), outlines affirmations and commitments to guide the church’s participation in society. In addition to advocating for justice and mercy in situations of brokenness, the church commits itself to removing obstacles of discrimination and indifference. More specifically, Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture (1993) further develops the role of this church and commits it to “support legislation, ordinances, and resolutions that guarantee to all persons equally . . . opportunity for employment with fair compensation and possibilities for job training and education, apprenticeship, promotion, and union membership [as well as the] opportunity for business ownership [and] access to . . . insurance services” (pg. 7). Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All (1999) states, “We commit ourselves as a church to hire without discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, age, disabilities, sexual orientation, or genetic factors” (pg. 10). Further, “We call for other employers to engage in similar practices” (pg. 10).

“Based on these social statements, the ELCA Church Council and various Churchwide Assemblies have affirmed this church’s position and commitment in opposition to discrimination in housing, employment, and services due to sexual orientation. These examples include the Church Council action “Harassment, Assault, and Discrimination Due to Sexual Orientation” (1993), and a Churchwide Assembly action (1997) in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as noted by these 2013 memorials.

“The ELCA advocacy ministries and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program continue to support legislation and corporate practices in opposition to discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Specifically, this includes support for the 2007 Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the 110th Congress, and the development, use, and periodic updating of a position paper on Nondiscrimination in Business Activities by CSR.”