The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) yanked its support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) this morning. From their press release:
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund today announced that it is withdrawing its support for the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The decision comes as broad religious exemptions, such as the one in ENDA, are creating gaping legal loopholes to discriminate in federal, state and local legislation.
"The morning after the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, we all woke up in a changed and intensified landscape of broad religious exemptions being used as an excuse to discriminate. We are deeply concerned that ENDA's broad exemption will be used as a similar license to discriminate across the country. We are concerned that these types of legal loopholes could negatively impact other issues affecting LGBT people and their families including marriage, access to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention and access to other reproductive health services. As one of the lead advocates on this bill for 20 years, we do not take this move lightly but we do take it unequivocally – we now oppose this version of ENDA because of its too-broad religious exemption. We cannot be complicit in writing such exemptions into federal law," said Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund.
Carey is urging support for treating LGBT people similarly as other protected classes under federal non-discrimination law, with a reasonable religious accommodation.
Anti-gay Christian groups used to oppose—or so they claimed—"special rights" for queer people. (Like the special right not to be fired, denied housing, kicked out of the military, prevented from marrying, or otherwise discriminated against simply for being queer.) Now, in the wake of Hobby Lobby, anti-gay Christian groups are demanding special rights of their own: the right to opt-out of established, settled non-discrimination law where it already exists, and the special right to language exempting Christians—not churches, but individuals and for-profit businesses—from proposed new legislation and/or executive orders protecting queer people from discrimination.
And now they—anti-gay Christian bigots—claim that they're the real victims of employment discrimination:
In America, LGBTQ people face persistent, systemic, widespread employment discrimination. Christians do not. In many states, LGBTQ people have no legal recourse to redress employment discrimination. Christians do—in every state in the country. Given this set of facts, you might be surprised to see conservative Christians panicking that the country is entering an age of anti-Christian discrimination—they might even use the rather biblical-sounding term, persecution—in the workplace. But panic is precisely what coitus-obsessed anti-gay professor Robert P. George is inciting his conservative brethren to do.
Go read Mark Joseph Stern's whole post for a preview of the anti-gay Christian right's next big push.
UPDATE: ENDA is toast...
Breaking: ACLU, NCLR, Lamda, join NGLTF in pulling support for ENDA https://t.co/7TbWjciAVT— Mike Signorile (@MSignorile) July 8, 2014
Says Joe Jervis...
Years and years of hard-fought battles resulted in the Senate passage of ENDA in November 2013 by a vote of 64-32. I exulted in that moment, truly. But no hope of the bill progressing in the GOP-dominated House coupled with the Hobby Lobby ruling means that the entire LGBT rights movement must now focus on having LGBT Americans included under the broad protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Some are loudly arguing that LGBT opposition to ENDA is yet another case of the perfect being the enemy of the good, a cry that was also made when many of us objected after transgender protections were stripped from the 2007 version of ENDA. But as some of you have pointed out, exempting the very people most likely to discriminate from an anti-discrimination bill just does not make sense in the post-Hobby Lobby world.
It's time for all of us to adopt and adapt the slogan of Idaho's activists, who demand that "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" be added to their state's human rights act.
"Add The Four Words" - to the Civil Rights Act Of 1964.