WASHINGTON (RNS) A 20-year effort to protect gays and lesbians from workplace discrimination is facing a major setback after a coalition of gay rights groups and civil liberties groups pulled their support because of an exemption for religious groups.

The American Civil Liberties Union and four gay rights groups said they can no longer support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case over contraception coverage, which allowed some businesses to claim a religious exemption in following federal law.

ENDA, first introduced in 1994, would make it illegal to fire someone solely on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia have some protections for employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but there is no federal protection for LGBT employees.

The bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support for the first time last November but faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House. On Tuesday (July 8), the ACLU issued a statement pulling its support, also signed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Transgender Law Center.

“Federal legislation to protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination is way beyond overdue, but Congress has no place giving religiously affiliated employers a license to discriminate against LGBT workers,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington legislative office. ”We can no longer support a bill that treats LGBT discrimination as different and somehow more legitimate than other forms of discrimination.”

The statement cited the Hobby Lobby decision and its “greater permission to discriminate on religious grounds” as the chief reason to withdraw support.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group, has made ENDA a top priority and continues to support the effort even with the religious exemption.

Several leading civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and GLAAD, withdrew support for a federal employment nondiscrimination act because of the religious exemptions present in the bill.

Several leading civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and GLAAD, withdrew support for a federal employment nondiscrimination act because of the religious exemptions present in the bill. Creative Commons image by Duluoz Cats

HRC spokesman Fred Sainz said his organization’s support for ENDA would continue, despite what other groups are doing. “HRC supports ENDA because it will provide essential workplace protections to millions of LBGT people,” Sainz told The Advocate.

The fight over a religious exemption in ENDA comes as President Obama is preparing to issue an executive order banning discrimination against gays and lesbians for groups that accept federal contracts. In the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, religious groups are pressing the White House to include a religious exemption, while others say an exemption would allow taxpayer-funded discrimination.

Ian Thompson, ACLU’s legislative representative, said the ACLU had voiced serious concerns about the ENDA exemption in the past, but after the Hobby Lobby decision the ACLU has seen a “misreading” of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision aimed at the LGBT community and “it’s clear that they will keep pushing on that front.”

Thompson added that allowing religious exemptions in ENDA would be confusing and contradict other laws, especially for members of the transgender community.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says that employers cannot discriminate based on sex but the religious exemptions in ENDA might make this more complicated for transgender employees, Thompson said.

KRE/MG END ADAMS

 

27 Comments

  1. If you’re gay, you are not having the type of sex that results in a child being born. Therefore, its easy to see these groups pulling support over contraception were not genuinely behind it in the first place.

    This a is politicized movement, crafted to confuse your mind. It can be nothing more than that when people who “were born that way”, thus cannot help it, thus will not have children, thus have no need to contraception suddenly become concerned about it.

    • The Great God Pan

      Note to wingnuts:

      The word “contraception” is mentioned in this article only because the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby contraception case made it clear that the court’s conservative majority interprets religious exemptions in an incredibly broad manner.

      Contraception itself has nothing to do with ENDA or with this decision by the major gay rights groups.

      Even if you went to a private Christian school where the only things they taught you were that Jesus is real and the earth is a few thousand years old, it is NEVER too late to learn how to read.

      • No, no. You can’t weasel out of this.

        There are major gay rights groups, who by thr definition of what it means to be gay, have no reason to be concerned with contraceptive devices….yet are.

        Why? Explain it in a sort of unified theory if you can without exposing the larger liberal sewage for brains idea that religion does notneed to exist in america. As they are subhuman to you. As they are not secular. As science tells you so.

        • The Great God Pan

          I already explained it, but let’s try one more time:

          This story has NOTHING TO DO WITH CONTRACEPTION. It is about a federal law regarding employment discrimination, which some groups are now refusing to back because it contains a loophole that, thanks to the Hobby Lobby ruling, is probably much larger than was previously thought. Neither the law nor the loophole involve contraception.

  2. There is no point to a law which fights discrimination if it leaves a big loophole for the people most likely to be the ones discriminating.

    Even acknowledging a religious exemption is clear proof that discriminating against gays has no rational or secular purpose behind it. Simply bigots hiding behind religion to give their prejudices the appearance of social acceptable reasons.

    • And there it is.

      Religion, since its not secular, can only be populated by bigots and haters. Per Larry and his media trained logic.

      And it only goes one way. Since they consider it a fact that all religious people are the buzzword bigots and haters, they obviously don’t deserve a freedom for their worldview. Therefore, a person of traditional faith cannot turn around and point out the hatred on the part of the lib-holes for religion. It does not work that way, cause you are christian and america is secular despite the empty marketing effort put forth nationally to convince you that religious freedoms are practiced here.

      Observe Larry…exposed.

      Further, you little christian will be withheld some of the benefits of our amazing government because you are christian and not secular. And yes, you personally must still be taxed in multiple ways on multple money flows despite a lack of full participation in your representation.

      America is no longer a place for people of traditional, christian based values to live them and practice them. And the throngs of technocrats and media formed minds like Larry could not be happier.

      • I don’t know what conversation you were responding to, but it wasn’t related to anything I said.

        Government must act with interests which are rational and secular. Anything else is establishment of religion or leads directly to discriminatory actions. A person of traditional faith cannot expect to have their faith given force of law. Doing so attacks people of other faiths (not that you give a damn about them).

        You have demonstrated your “traditional Christian values” are merely anti democratic, bigoted self interest. whatever relationship it has with the teachings of Jesus Christ are purely coincidental. You have zero respect for religious freedom and consider it merely license to attack others. You have no appreciation for rule of law or government beyond what can be exploited for personal gain. You use religion as a pretext for malicious behavior.

      • No, Nats. It is not that religion can only be populated by bigots. It’s that religious bigotry can only be perpetrated by religious bigots. When you defend them, you are aligning yourself with them.
        If you don’t like to be painted with the same brush then set yourself apart from them and call them out publicly on their religious bigotry and try to steer your culture toward a more tolerant form of religion.

        Then you’d have a legitimate argument to make when we say such things.

    • You are misusing the word “bigotry”.

      Since gayness is based on sexual behavior, it is perfectly normal that rational people can like or dislike gay sexual behavior. You know, the promiscuousness, the rear end stuff, etc.

      Bigotry is a word reserved for things that it truly makes no sense to discriminate on. Like skin color.

      Nice appropriation of the word, though. It associates you with something good on a subconscious level. The big failing is that you have driven away many people that would have supported you, by name calling. You might have persuaded people over the long run, but now you have called them what is probably the most disgusting thing you can be called in America. People don’t like that.

      • CarrotCakeMan

        Sorry, there’s just no point in trying to put lipstick on the pig that is the mental disorder, homophobia. Your demonstrated obsession with “the behavior” (please stop telling us what kind of “gay sex” arouses you the most!) doesn’t change the fact you’re trying to reduce an immutable sexual orientation to your own sexual fantasies.

        Psychologists identified homophobia as a mental illness and published their results in the Journal of the National Institutes of Health in 1953. Homophobia is the irrational fear, disgust, or hatred of gays, lesbians, and/or bisexual people, or of homosexual feelings in oneself. It refers to the discomfort one feels with any behavior, belief, or attitude (in self or others) that does not conform to traditional sex role stereotypes. Homophobia exhibits itself in the fear of knowing, befriending, or associating with gays, lesbians, or bisexual people; fear of being perceived as gay or lesbian; and/or fear of stepping out of accepted gender role behavior. Psychologists report that the most commonly observed symptom of the mental disorder homophobia is cognitive dissonance, an inability of those so afflicted to accept documentation that contradicts their deep-seated phobia and hatred of LGBT Americans.

      • Bigotry is the right word. You are completely within you rights to find such practices, icky and not like it. But when you try to prohibit people their Constitutional Rights based on your icky feeling, you ARE a bigot.

  3. Lles Nats, you are spot on. Thank you for your posts. There is an effort in today’s society to rid the country of any public expression of religious belief. Religious people are expected to abandon their beliefs when they enter the public sphere and thereby abandon themselves to some sort of false, secular identity.

    • The Great God Pan

      Nobody cares if you abandon your beliefs or cling to them until you die. Some people do, however, have a problem with you imposing them on other people.

      As a Mormon, you should embrace secularism. It was your fellow Christians, not atheists, who chased your forerunners all the way out to Utah. The more entrenched religion becomes in public life, the more conflict and strife there is between different religions and denominations. Only by keeping the public space neutral can you be protected from other religions.

      • Yes, yes! I love it. Play up the fear angle. Classic statist thinking.

        Truth is, if there were no government, a mob would be in charge. Gov is here to protect you from that. You need gov for that. Thats what we believe. I say gov IS the mob in charge. Be it religious or secular in nature, they are the current mob in charge.

        But of course, our “public space is kept neutral to protect us from other religions”…or its kept neutral so we can walk in as willing victims. See, a people who are not unified by a common idea will submit to anything if they are told its in their best interest. Divide and conquer.

        People who hold traditional christian beliefs are now openly called “extremists” on some media outlets. That is by design. Its done for a purpose. And the people using those terms actually believe the religious folks are.

        • When you expect our government to adopt your religious beliefs in a way which deliberately harms others, you ARE an extremist. what happened to leading by example? Oh wait, you are really terrible malicious and ignorant people. Horrible example to others. So I guess you are left with using coercion.

          People who rail against secularism are really saying they hate religious freedom and have no respect for others. Like you

    • Hey Dan, I don’t have to follow the tenets of your faith under compulsion of law. Your religious belief is none of my business. You are expected to not go out of your way to deliberately harm people. Using your religious faith to excuse such acts does not make it acceptable.

      You are expected not to force others to adopt your beliefs. If you can’t understand that, you have no business whatsoever talking about religious freedom.

    • CarrotCakeMan

      “Dan the Mormon” is pretending all religions share his sect’s peculiar animus they feel toward LGBT Americans. We know that’s false. The United Church of Christ has filed suit against one state’s anti-gay Hate Vote already. Other denominations will take similar actions to protect their Freedom Of Religion to marry same gender couples.

  4. HOBBY LOBBY IS A DISASTROUS RULING FOR EVERYONE.

    I TOLD YOU SO
    I TOLD YOU SO
    I TOLD YOU SO
    I TOLD YOU SO
    I TOLD YOU SO

    This is the curse that will keep on giving.

      • And anyone interested in the first amendment, laws of incorporation, labor law, laws of incorporation, anyone with a genuine religious belief, and those who expect intellectual honesty from the Supreme Court. Other than that, it is a peachy keen decision.

        • Magnus Elric-William

          It seems rather disingenuous for a seemingly atheist/agnostic to suggest that those with genuine religious belief would object to the scotus ruling. I would imagine that millions of Christians would disagree with you. But then again we all know that the indignation expressed by the left

          • Magnus Elric-William

            (Cont) is really about GLBT rights and ending religion period and not about women’s health. Pax.

          • Anyone who can declare a pile of papers filed with the Oklahoma Department of State to have religious belief has no concern for genuine religious belief. It is merely a label without legitimate meaning.

            Anyone who uses religious belief as an excuse to attack rights of others has no idea what the words mean.

            If millions of Christians are willing to ascribe their belief to a legal fictional entity they have no idea what religious beliefs really are. They cheapen their own alleged faith.

          • CarrotCakeMan

            Magnus is pulling the same deception that Dan the Mormon tried, once again falsely claiming all religions are homophobic.

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