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The ACLU and NGLTF (Task Force) Withdraw Support From The Flawed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

ENDAThe American Civil Liberties Union along with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (Task Force) both today have announced that they are withdrawing their support from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

In a statement also signed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Transgender Law Center. The ACLU objects to a provision in the bill that would allow religiously affiliated employers to continue to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Federal legislation to protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination is way beyond overdue, but Congress has no place giving religiously affiliated employers a license to discriminate against LGBT workers,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. ”We can no longer support a bill that treats LGBT discrimination as different and somehow more legitimate than other forms of discrimination.”

Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s (Task Force) in a seperate interview shortly after that organization withdrew its support stated “If a private company can take its own religious beliefs and say you can’t have access to certain health care, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to an interpretation that a private company could have religious beliefs that LGBT people are not equal or somehow go against their beliefs and therefore fire them. We disagree with that trend. The implications of Hobby Lobby are becoming clear.”

“We do not take this move lightly,” she added. “We’ve been pushing for this bill for 20 years.”

Despite the new opposition to the ENDA and the outcry from the majority of the LGBT community against the religious exemption in the current version of the bill the Human Rights Campaign, said Tuesday that it continues to support the bill “because it will provide essential workplace protections to millions of LGBT people.” despite the fact that it its current form ENDA will write LGBT discrimination into law andcould be used by any group. organization, or business that that hides their bigotry behind guise of “religion”.

In a statement to Back2Stonewall from Heather Cronk Co-Director of GetEQUAL:  I understand that HRC wants to continue supporting ENDA because I deeply understand the need for us to fight like hell for LGBTQ workplace protections. However, at some point, our movement needs to speak with one voice in saying that using religion as a tool for discrimination rather than for liberation is simply wrong and that we won’t accept it. I hope that HRC soon reaches the conclusion that the rest of us has, and pulls its support for a bill that sets a dangerous precedent for not only the LGBTQ movement, but also for the women’s movement and the reproductive justice movement

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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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