Jewish groups lead on disability law


Jewish groups led a religious coalition urging the U.S. Congress to pass a bill to toughen a disabilities discrimination law.

The United Jewish Communities federation umbrella group; the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; the American Jewish Committee; the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; Reform’s Central Conference of American Rabbis; the Jewish Labor Committee; the Jewish Reconstuctionist Federation and the National Council of Jewish Women joined 18 Protestant, Roman Catholic, Muslim and Hindu groups on Thursday in sending a letter to Congress members urging support for the American with Disabilities Restoration Act. The UJC and the RAC spearheaded the letter.

Supreme Court decisions have restricted the original act, passed in 1990, to provable disabilities and from applying it to those who have mitigated their disability through treatment and medication. The new act makes explicit that the bill should be applied to those who are perceived to have disabilities or who are treating their disabilities.

“Since its enactment in the early 1990s, the Americans with Disabilities Act has helped millions of Americans avoid discrimination in the workplace and in other aspects of their daily lives,” UJC said in a statement. “Unfortunately, over time the American court system has watered down this legislation to cover only those individuals with the most obvious disabilities. Countless others still face discrimination every day.”

The bill has bipartisan support and is under committee consideration in both Houses of Congress.

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