WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 300 organizations from throughout the nation -- and representing the full scope and breadth of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community -- have launched a vigorous and vocal united lobbying and advocacy campaign to win passage of a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), H.R. 2015. Called United ENDA, the campaign builds off the past week's unprecedented efforts by legal groups, political organizations, grassroots activists and many others to maintain protections on the basis of gender identity in ENDA as the measure was originally introduced. The groups, which include leading legal organizations such as Lambda Legal and faith groups such as the Religious Coalition for Equality, have signed a joint letter to Congress objecting to a diminished bill that abandons transgender people. These organizations, in an ever-expanding list, comprise United ENDA. As a result of letter and direct lobbying by staff from LGBT organizations and constituents, a scheduled House committee hearing on a version of ENDA that strips protections for transgender people was postponed last week. United ENDA groups are coordinating lobbying and communicating daily to keep pressure on Congress. In the past week alone, thousands of constituents have called or sent e-mails to their U.S. representatives urging them to support a transgender-inclusive ENDA. Below the listed media resources is additional information, including an update about what United ENDA has accomplished within the last week. Media Resources: Get background on ENDA. Read the letter to Congress signed by nearly 300 organizations. Read responses and analysis from leading LGBT legal organizations: joint statement from legal groups and additional analysis from Lambda Legal. Key Facts about United ENDA: United ENDA was formed officially on Oct. 3 by the 150 organizations that signed a letter urging Congress to only support a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. There are now 282 organizations that belong to the United ENDA campaign and the list continues to grow every day. United ENDA has coordinated a broad campaign to pass the original Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 2015) with unified protections for all LGBT people and to oppose any amendment or bill that would leave some in our community behind. Nearly every statewide LGBT advocacy organization has joined United ENDA as well as nearly every national LGBT advocacy organization that lobbies members of Congress. Every national LGBT legal group has joined the campaign. The combined membership of the United ENDA member organizations is at least 1.7 million. (This number only reflects membership data from 120 of the 282 member organizations.) While United ENDA is a campaign of primarily LGBT-specific organizations, United ENDA is helping to coordinate lobbying strategies with numerous non- LGBT groups who share the goal of passing a trans-inclusive ENDA this Congress, including USAction and its state affiliates, the Young Democrats of America, and the National Organization for Women. Key Actions of United ENDA and Member Organizations: -- Coordination of Lobby Efforts. United ENDA helps to coordinate the lobbying efforts of the member organizations of United ENDA, including Hill meetings, keeping track of who is committing to support the bill, providing lobby report mechanisms for grassroots lobbyists, and maintaining communication with members of Congress who share the position of United ENDA. -- Action Alerts. Alerts were sent to members of United ENDA organizations asking members to call or e-mail members of Congress with the message to support H.R. 2015 and oppose any effort to strip protections for gender identity from the bill. For a PDF copy of a sampling of alerts, contact Roberta Sklar, communications director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, at rsklar@theTaskForce.org. -- Organizational Coordination. The United ENDA campaign holds daily briefing calls to coordinate activity. The United ENDA coalition maintains the list of supporting organizations and coordinates the delivery of the updated letter to members of Congress supporting H.R. 2015 and opposing any amendment or bill that would leave some in our community behind. -- Faith Organizing. United ENDA member organizations and volunteers have alerted more than 2,000 pro-LGBT congregations and asked their members to take action in support of H.R. 2015, and created flyers for church bulletins to engage congregants. The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, the Institute for Welcoming Resources and the Bishops and Elders Council have all organized faith leaders of multiple denominations to weigh in with their members of Congress. -- Student Mobilization. United ENDA member organizations have mobilized student activists by contacting more than 120 LGBT campus resource centers and giving them tools so their students can take action to preserve a fully inclusive bill. Through Campus Pride, GLSEN, Campus Progress and other organizations, students have coordinated and participated in lobby visits at home and in D.C. -- Phone Banking. United ENDA volunteers have engaged in phone banking to ask members to call their representative using scripts provided by United ENDA. -- Press/Media Outreach. A number of United ENDA member organizations have released press releases stating organizational positions. (Many of these statements are available in the previously mentioned PDF.) An audio press conference attended by 30-plus media outlets was held Oct, 1, the day before the originally scheduled committee mark-up, to amplify the messages of the various organizations that have since formed United ENDA. -- Additional Letters to Members of Congress. United ENDA member organizations have also initiated a religious organization sign-on letter and a letter from HIV/AIDS organizations has been delivered to Congress. A number of statewide organizations have developed state- specific sign on letters to their congressional delegations. -- Online Activism. United ENDA member organizations have established two online petitions and a Facebook group. More than 10,000 people have joined or taken action through these sites over the last week. See www.nosubstitutes.org developed by National Stonewall Democrats and http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/transgender_inclusive_ENDA/ developed by National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender Law Center.
SOURCE National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc.