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Julian Bond

In an op-ed for Politico, civil rights leader, former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People  Julian Bond calls for all Americans to come together to support of LGBT equality and also speaks out against the planned “religious exemptions” that are currently in the version of ENDA (The Employment Non-Discrimination Act) that is to be brought up before Congress.

“ENDA follows in the mold of life-changing civil rights laws that, for  decades, have prohibited employment discrimination based on race, sex, national  origin, age and disability. However, there are some who feel that ENDA must  allow religiously affiliated organizations — far beyond churches, synagogues and  mosques — to engage in employment discrimination against LGBT people.

We haven’t accepted this in the past, and we must not today. In response to  the historic gains of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, opponents argued  that their religious beliefs prohibited integration. To be true to their  religious beliefs, they argued, they couldn’t serve African-Americans in their  restaurants or accept interracial marriages.

Indeed, during consideration of the landmark Civil Rights Act in 1964 (and  again in 1972), there were attempts to provide religious organizations with a  blank check to engage in discrimination in hiring on the basis of race, sex and  national origin — like the one now proposed for ENDA — and both times we said no to those efforts. We weren’t willing to compromise on equality. We weren’t  willing to say that African-Americans were only mostly equal. Today’s struggles  are similar in that we shouldn’t accept only partial equality for LGBT  people.

Let me be clear. Religious liberty is one of our most cherished values. It guarantees all of us the freedom to hold any belief we  choose and the right to act on our religious beliefs. But it does not allow us  to harm or discriminate against others. Religious liberty, contrary to what  opponents of racial equality argued then and LGBT equality argue now, is not a  license to use religion to discriminate.”

The current sweeping and unprecedented religious exemption in ENDA goes far beyond churches, synagogues, and mosques and allows discrimination against LGBT people in any religious associated business.   It effectively gives a stamp of legitimacy to LGBT discrimination that our civil rights laws have never given to discrimination based on an individual’s race, sex, national origin, age, or disability and renders ENDA impotent and gives a pass to those who discriminate against the LGBT community the most.

This should not and cannot be allowed.

About the author

Will Kohler has written 6651 articles on this blog.

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

1 Comment

  1. Seems to me that mr. Julian Bond is a wise man….. with awareness and knowledge on and of the topic, of especially equality!

    Being part of a community that has been subjected to discrimination based on something the members of that community had no power over to influence (ie the skin color) people have been subjected to discrimination in housing, on the workfloor, marriage, access to facilities, and social structures!

    Were black people were (and even in 2013 in some locations) discriminated because they were having another skin-color then white, in 2013 it are the homosexual people who are discriminated, based on also something they can not be held responsible for…… their sexuality!
    Homosexual people are discriminated against on the workfloor, marriage, access to facilities, housing, and social structures………

    Everyone with some knowledge of what discrimination based on something one can not help or do anything about or for, should be ashamed of the fact that skin-color, sexuality, gender and race is reason to exclude a person, or a group of people!
    If people are not treated as human beings but as separate groups were one group is worth more then others based on either of these qualifications, that means exclusion and separation, it means apartheid!
    And we all know that apartheid is the most despicable activity ever!

    As to religion….. all I can and will say about the special position that religions and their representatives demand to be granted is….. shame on you!
    And you are as despicable as those who support apartheid!
    People who claim to be christian and at the same time exclude human beings from the grace of christian religion are, in my opinion at least, unworthy to be considered a christian!
    The bible tells us that jesus allowed everyone to be close to him, he welcomed wholeheartedly all people with him, and around him, he shared with all people (no exception) his thoughts, his ideas and his principles, and that was why he was tortured, murdered and crucified!
    Jesus was a man who accepted everyone, who embraced everyone, who loved everyone, without disqualifying anyone….. while in 2013 those who claim to be speaking in his name are actually claiming to be more special then others, claim to have more rights then others…….
    To those so-called christians I would want to say: Go to your own hell, and let those who in the eyes of Jesus are equal to him be also equal while they are on earth!

    Just my opinion!

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