Thursday, November 7, 2013

ENDA: The Religious Bigotry Protection Act

The latest craze believed needed to pass marriage equality legislation in the various states is to carve out protections exceptions for bigotry against same sex couples based on religious views.  Proponents of using this approach believe it is the only way to get marriage equality passed through the various legislatures.  Notice though that any state where the courts decided in favor of marriage equality there are not provisions for religious bigotry.  California, New Jersey, Iowa and Massachusetts have no such carve outs for religious bigotry.

Now we see protections exceptions for religious bigotry being placed as amendments in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which is set to pass the U.S. Senate (as I write this).  That's correct, a piece of legislation seeking to protect gays, lesbians and transgenders from discrimination in the work place is set to codify discrimination in the work place as long as that discrimination is based on religious views.

What is worse is that Senate Democrats and national gay rights organizations rolled over and allowed the amendment to be attached to ENDA, believing it is better to pass flawed legislation supposedly protecting GLBT persons than to pass no legislation at all.  They couldn't be more wrong.  ENDA has languished in the US Congress for years.  As a gay male, I am willing to wait for another year or two to get a clean ENDA, with no carve outs for religious bigotry.  Besides, we know that the "tea party" Republican controlled House of Representatives will never pass ENDA, even with the carve outs for religious bigotry.  So what is the rush?

I wish we didn't need national legislation banning discrimination in the workplace based on ones sexual orientation, but we do.  For some reason, the need to discriminate is so powerful, that it defies reason.  That is why there is this push to codify discrimination in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.  That is also why we must fight tooth and nail for a clean ENDA with no carve outs for bigotry based on ones religious views.

Please contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them not to protect religious bigotry in ENDA.

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