Tag Archives: Freedom To Work

Freedom to Work Shills It’s Dangerous Version of ENDA On The Coattails of Obama’s Executive Order‏

Freedom to work


President Obama spoke to BIG money LGBT donors at a Democratic National Committee gala in New York City on Tuesday night only one day after the White House announced that Obama plans to sign the executive order that would bar federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers and reminding the deep pocketed attendees of the accomplishments over the course of his administration and saying that much more needed to be done.

Speaking onstage at Gotham Hall before an American flag, Obama received a prolonged standing ovation when he said he told his staff to prepare an executive order that would bar federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers.

We don’t benefit as a country or an economy — businesses don’t benefit if they’re leaving talent off the field,” Obama said. “And that’s why I’ve directed my staff to prepare for my signature, an executive order prohibiting discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity…Because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love shouldn’t be a fireable offense.”

But Obama said efforts must continue to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation that would bar discrimination among public and private employers, not just federal contractors. The executive order he plans to sign doesn’t “reach everyone that needs to be reached,” Obama said.

“It would be better, by the way, if Congress passed a more comprehensive law that didn’t just cover federal contractors,” Obama said. “And we need to keep working on that, so don’t take the pressure off Congress.”

But many questions remain about the planned executive order, such as whether it’ll contain a religious exemption like the very broad and much criticized religious exemption crafted by Tico Almeida and Freedom to Work in the current version of ENDA that if passed, would write LGBT discrimination into law by allowing businesses and groups who claim they part of a religious movement the right to refuse to hire and terminate LGBT employees without any legal repercussions.

In an interview with the Washington Blade Almeida took the opportunity to shill his dangerous version of ENDA.

“Those were the strongest and most thorough remarks I’ve ever heard from President Obama in support of ENDA,” said last nights speech “The president very much deserved the strong applause he received when he discussed the upcoming executive order, and he was right to say that we must all keep the pressure on Congress.”

Almeida and Freedom to Work it seems is still pushing its dangerous version of ENDA of which Almeida admitted last year at Netroots Nation 2013 in San Jose that the very open religious exemption was specifically written  “just to get ENDA passed’.   Thankfully it has not but has instead drawn the ire and condemnation of many LGBT activists and organizations.

Still many questions remain about the Presidents planned Executive Order, such as whether or not it will indeed contain its own religious exemption.

A meeting is planned at the White House on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. between administration officials and LGBT advocates to discuss the planned LGBT non-discrimination order, but no other information was given

Lets just hope that Tico Almeida and Freedom to Work isn’t one of the “advocates” or groups invited to attend.

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.

EXCLUSIVE: Obama Tweets Support for ENDA While LGBT Groups Battle For Control

Obama Tweets Support for ENDA

Last night President Obama (or his staff) went to Twitter and Facebook to post his support for ENDA, the embattled 20+ year old bill that has been sitting in Congress that would grant the LGBT community workplace protections from being fired because of who they are which they currently do not have in the United States.

In addition President Obama’s political arm is raising money from supporters to push for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Organizing for Action, the successor organization to Obama’s presidential campaign apparatus that advocates for his policy positions, sent out an email from Executive Director Jon Carson to supporters on Thursday with the subject line, “It’s 2013 — this shouldn’t be legal.”

“A lot of Americans don’t know that it’s still legal in some states to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Yep — it’s 2013, and every American still doesn’t have that basic protection under the law.”

The email continues to say that ENDA would rectify this issue by making sure “no one can legally be discriminated against in the workplace for being gay or transgender.”

A link within the email redirects to the OFA site, which allows the reader to sign a petition calling on Congress to pass ENDA.

After the reader enters an email address, another page pops up asking for a donation to OFA in several designated amounts up to $1,000.  But what is NOT CLEAR whether the donations will be used for ENDA, the OFA or other purposes.

Meanwhile in the LGBT community we have TWO  groups now that want to be the ones representing (and taking the credit) for ENDA if it passes battling for control.

First we have Tico Almeida President and founder of  Freedom to Work, a grassroots organization that was launched in the fall of 2011 which started the new momentum towards bringing ENDA up before Congress yet again.  FTW worked closely with Sen. Jeff Merkley setting up all the groundwork.  Unfortunately though Almedia, also helped write the current religious exemption in the new ENDA which basically will grant religious business institutions including hospitals and schools the right to continue discriminating against LGBT individuals legally in hopes of an easier passage through Congress

Next up in the ENDA Control Battle Royal we have the newly formed (and “Gay Inc.” big bucks backed.) Americans for Workplace Opportunity created just 3 months ago in July led by the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.

The AWO steering Committee includes the ACLU, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Unity Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Center for Transgender Equality.  AWO was formed after much of the current ENDA ground work was done by Almedia and FTW.  Almedia’s group was not not asked to join the board, and was denied inclusion after asking.  (One has to wonder where the HRC and the Task Force has been for the past few years on the issue that only NOW do they form this group.)

Also besides these two groups we also have the remnants of the now defunct, original “United ENDA” coalition  from the early 2000’s still milling about in the background.

So can one really wonder why ENDA still sits waiting after 20+ years and our LGBT brothers and sisters are still discriminated in 29 states?

The answer is politics.  Politics from within our government and petty politics from within our community.   Which in the end hurts ENDA’s chances even more.

White House ENDA