July 9, 2014
- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) has announced its opposition to the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The Senate-passed version contains a religious exemption that’s broadly worded and unprecedented in federal anti-discrimination legislation. The NGLTF cites that as well as the recent Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court as motivation for its opposition:
Frankly, it is becoming harder and harder for me, for us, to tolerate our own moral and political inconsistencies by protesting the Hobby Lobby decision, then advocating for the current ENDA with its broad religious exemption, and then insisting that the president not include a broad exemption in the upcoming executive order protecting LGBT people working for federal contractors. How can we demand that a woman have coverage for reproductive healthcare at a company but support a bill that allows a lesbian cafeteria worker in the religiously affiliated hospital next door to be fired from her job?
In the last year alone, we have seen a wave of attempted and successful efforts at imposing religious exemptions on issues of reproductive health and LGBT equality on the local, state, and federal level. And it is crystal clear in the week following the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision that the momentum is building on religious exemptions. Not 48 hours after the decision, Pastor Rick Warren joined other faith leaders in a letter to the president asking that he include a broad religious exemption in the contractor executive order. We cannot be complicit in writing such exemptions into federal law.
There is a better alternative: federal nondiscrimination legislation that contains a reasonable religious accommodation. LGBT people should have the same protections as those contained in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Legal equality is legal equality.
- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the Transgender Law Center issued a joint statement announcing that they’re withdrawing support as well.
- Pro-LGBT faith leaders have written a letter to President Obama asking him not to include further religious exemptions in his upcoming anti-discrimination executive order. The order will apply to federal contractors.
- Pride at Work has also withdrawn support of ENDA.