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HRC Blasts Catholic School For Firing Lesbian Teacher While Pushing ENDA Which Would Make It Legal

ENDALesbian teacher Tippi McCullough who has taught at Mount St. Mary Academy in Arkansas for the past fifteen years.was fired last week after she married her partner of fourteen years, Barb Mariani.

Chad Griffin and the Human Rights Campaign were quick to condemn St. Mary’s actions:

“To fire a beloved teacher simply because she is gay is morally reprehensible…At a moment when Pope Francis is urging the Catholic hierarchy to put aside judgment and a decades-long campaign targeting devoted LGBT Catholics, it’s shameful that this school is ignoring that hopeful message in favor of explicit and baseless discrimination.”

Meanwhile the HRC is pushing for a vote in Congress of the current version of ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) which would not only allow, but would actually make legal the termination of LGBT employee’s from religious run institutions such as schools and even hospitals just because they are gay.

The current version of ENDA which was written by Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, who was one of two individuals who helped craft its current language states that ENDA “shall not apply to a corporation, association, educational institution or institution of learning, or society that is exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.  Meaning that while the 1964 Civil Rights Act does allow religious organizations an exemption from hiring people outside their  own religion.  If this current version of ENDA passes it would allow religious organizations to discriminate against an entire class of people, the LGBT community with a free hand.

Those of you who know me know that I have been a long supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.  But I cannot and WILL NOT support this version of ENDA as currently written until the religious exemption is gone or severely tightened.  This current version of ENDA with its sweeping, unprecedented exemption undermines the core goal of ENDA by leaving too many jobs, and LGBT workers, outside the scope of its protections and gives free reign to those to discriminate against us to those who need to follow the law the most.

The current version of ENDA is a bad bill of goods.  One in which Almedia himself has stated was written with such a broad language just so it would pass.  But what is the use of passing a useless bill that legalizes LGBT discrimination and sets a precedent?

Its time for the community to strongly speak out against this version of ENDA as much as it pains us to do so before our organizations again lead us down the primrose path to hell and waste millions of dollars  just so “something could pass” that actually allows and makes legal discrimination against us.


Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist 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 Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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