Tag Archives: religious exemptions

Indiana Republicans’ LGBT Protections Bill Only Protects The Religious Right. ARE WE SHOCKED?



Copying the worthless Utah LGBT Discrimination Bill that passed erlier this year with major criticism from the LGBT community. , Indiana Senate Republicans introduced legislation Tuesday that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s civil rights laws while carving out large exemptions for those with radical religious objections.

The bill explicitly protects religious leaders such as pastors, priests and rabbis from being required to perform marriages for same-sex couples. But it also includes exceptions for churches and religious-affiliated institutions such as charities, private universities, hospitals, colleges, adoption agencies and day care providers to still be able to discriminate against the LGBT community.  The very offenders which the bill is needed to protect against.

Other exemptions would allow schools, employers and others to determine their own restroom policies for transgender people; businesses with fewer than four employees to refuse wedding services to same-sex couples; and religious-affiliated adoption agencies to reject prospective same-sex parents.

Also Transgender individuals would be required to live as their preferred gender for a year or receive a medical opinion before able to file a discrimination complaint. And the measure would also create a $1,000 penalty for “frivolous” discrimination complaints and prohibit local governments from enacting stricter non-discrimination ordinances.

“This bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, This doesn’t protect LGBT people — it is a road map for discrimination against LGBT people  It aims to guarantee the right of some medical, social services and other institutions to discriminate against married same-sex couples, and to do so with taxpayer dollars. It aims to write separate, lesser protections for LGBT people into state law.” said Jennifer Pizer, law and policy project director at Lambda Legal. 

The sham Bill would also prohibit local municipalities from passing any protections that extend beyond the state’s limitations. Specifically, “an ordinance may not establish requirements that are more stringent or otherwise are in conflict” with the bill, and any such regulation is “preempted”.

In an open letter to the governor and legislative leaders, Lambda Legal explained that it could not support legislation that:

  • leaves any segment of the LGBT community behind by not offering full, explicit protections;
  • treats discrimination against LGBT people differently from other forms of discrimination prohibited under Indiana law, including by the addition of hurtful carve-outs for service providers who wish to refuse to serve LGBT people for religious reasons;
  • lessens or waters down protections in existing law for other groups that face discrimination;
  • leave out full employment, housing, and public accommodations protections for LGBT people.

The Republicans’ bill blatantly violates all four tenets, sending a clear signal that LGBT people are not meant to enjoy equal protection under the law, in Indiana and are nothing more than hated second-class citizens.


After The Senate Hype ENDA Is Stuck And Atheist Fight To Remove The Religious Exemptions

ENDAIt may have taken 30+ years and the stripping away of its most basic meaning, but ENDA , the  Employment Non-Discrimination Act has finally passed its final vote in the full Senate 64-32 amidst much hype and political theater.

Ten Republicans joined 52  Democrats and two Independents in voting “yes,” on the bill

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey attempted to add an additional amendment that would have expended the bill’s already far too broad religious exemptions to include any businesses or persons who had any dealing of any kind with a religious institution.  Democratic Sen. Harkin criticized the Toomey amendment ahead of the vote, saying it threatened “to gut the fundamental principle of ENDA.” (Even though that had happened already at the hands of Tico Almeida of Freedom to Work who helped write the bill’s current religious exemption that will allow religious institutions, schools, hospitals, and businesses to continue to discriminate against the LGBT community openly hiding under the banner of “freedom of religion”  and will write LGBT discrimination into law.)

It’s the first time in history that the Senate has passed ENDA. The House passed a version of ENDA in 2007, but it did not include protections for transgender individuals. And this religiously exempt flawed version (luckily?) has very little chance of passing or even being brought to the floor of the House of Representatives as  John Boehner and his core group oppose the measure, and senior aides say it’s unlikely to even come up for a vote in the House.

Meanwhile while the Human Rights Campaign, other LGBT organizations and even the ACLU are embracing the hyperbole (and money donations) of ENDA’s Senate passage. But the fact still remains that the religious exemptions are so dangerous that it would actually write LGBT discrimination into law and set the community up as “second class citizens” and “Gay Inc” is ignoring that fact because they don’t want to bother or get into a fight because they believing that ENDA will never pass the House anyway.

But fortunately the atheist group Secular Coalition For America has vowed to fight the religious exemptions think its not worth while.

Via the SCA press release:

The Secular Coalition for America today applauded the passing of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the U.S. Senate, but expressed disappointment that discrimination by religious organizations will continue to be permitted, leaving millions of Americans unprotected. “This is a step in the right direction, but it certainly doesn’t go far enough,” said Edwina Rogers, executive director for the Secular Coalition for America. “Many of the organizations exempted from the law receive public funding, which means they are permitted to discriminate against taxpayers with taxpayer dollars. That’s completely unacceptable.” The First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause has never stood for the principal that religious belief trumps all other laws. As Justice Scalia once wrote “to permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.” As the bill moves to the U.S.House, where Speaker John Boehner has indicated he will not bring the bill up. The Secular Coalition will continue to work for passage of ENDA, and to ensure Section 6 is removed or narrowed and that no exceptions are made for religiously-motivated discrimination.

Thank you SCA for speaking up while our own organizations stay silent and refuse to do nothing.

The religious exemptions are a disgrace and a clear decision by pandering Democrats and our LGBT organizations to get something passed, anything passed for their own publicity and glory.

The current version of ENDA is virtually worthless and an affront to every LGBT activist who has ever fought for full equality in the history of our movement.   Discrimination has no place in our laws. It defeats the very protections we are fighting for and the true meaning of ENDA.




FRC’s Tony “Chicken Little” Perkins: It’s The ENDA The World!

Tony Perkins is a Homo

“Imagine how many conservatives would find themselves in the unemployment line if ENDA were the law of the land! The workplace would be open season on people with religious convictions and beliefs. Christians (and people who follow most major religions) would be silenced and forced underground, while homosexuals and transgenders turn the business world into their strongest political platform. A lot of squishy Republicans think they fix the problem with a religious liberty amendment to ENDA. But as we’ve seen with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which the courts have shot full of holes), it will take a legislative firewall — not an amendment — to protect faithful Americans.” – Family Research Council hate group President Tony Perkins, via email.

Little Ms. Perkins continues her  histrionics over ENDA, a Bill that has been so badly botched by our side that it actually gives her and his religious extremist carte blanche to continue discriminating against the LGBT community.

FRC’s Tony Perkins: Even Though ENDA Will Still Allow Us To Discriminate, We’ll Lie Anyway

ENDAWith every lame-ass beltway LGBT  journalist and news blogger cheering the fact that ENDA will soon hit the Senate floor WITHOUT writing a damn word about the very dangerous Religious Exemption it has that would still allow and write into law LGBT discrimination by religious organizations, schools, hospitals and businesses. (Yes I am calling you out Chris Giedner, Andy Towle, Joe Jervis and the rest of you.) Family Research Council hate group leader Tony Perkins sent out an email blast to his bigoted GOP and Tea Party followers lying about the current bill because being allowed to legally discriminate against us just isn’t enough.

“Dear XXXXX,

ENDA would force religious business owners and workplaces such as Christian bookstores, religious publishing houses, pre-schools and religious television and radio stations to accept as normal any employee who has had a sex-change surgery, any employee who has changed or is ‘transitioning’ their public ‘gender identity’ (regardless of whether they have had surgery or hormone treatments), transvestites (people who dress as the opposite sex on an occasional basis for emotional or sexual gratification), and drag queens or drag kings (people who dress as the opposite sex for the purpose of entertaining others). Making matters worse, ‘perceived gender identity’ status does not require sex-change surgery, so ENDA would allow some biological males (who claim to be female) to enter and even appear nude before females in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. Please contact your Senators and urge them to oppose S. 815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as it imposes on employers freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of conscience and the free market economy.”

Tony Perkins.

It must be the coldest day in hell because I also urge Senators to oppose the current version of S. 815. Not for the same reasons of course as Ms. Perkins  but because of the very broad religious exemptions which render this version of ENDA almost totally useless and would allow people like Perkins and ilk to be allowed to wantonly discriminate against us.  This is the story that’s NOT being told.

The exact religious exemption reads that: This Act 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 (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.) pursuant to section 702(a) or 703(e)(2) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1(a), 2000e-2(e)(2)).

The major difference is that in the 1964 CRA any religious “corporation, association, educational institution or institution of learning, or society” are only allowed to pass over hiring someone if they are not the same faith.  It does not exclude an entire subset of people such as women or blacks.  But in ENDA the above religious exemption would allow them to freely continue to discriminate against the LGBT community and even worse it would be written into law.

This version of ENDA is a sham and in the end if by some chance it does indeed pass the Senate and the House and gets signed into law it could do us more harm than good.

Perhaps the saddest statement on it is that Tico Almeida of Freedom to Work who helped write it actually admitted that it was written so broadly just so it would pass.  NOT because its best for the LGBT community.

Whats the use of this version of ENDA if its essentially worthless and give those who abuse us the most a free pass to discriminate against us.





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.

Good News: ENDA Passes Senate Committee – Bad News: Dangerous Religious Exemptions Attached

Good News, Bad News

Today in  just a little over 15 minutes, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee voted 15-7 to report the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to the full Senate. The 12 Democrats on the committee were joined by three Republicans — Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), a co-sponsor of the bill, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) (both a shock) — in voting to advance the bill.

Speaking to reporters, Murkowski said the outpouring of support for ENDA from her constituents helped influence her vote.

“When I was home over the break, I think it was 1,174 postcards were delivered to my office from Alaskans from around the state in support of ENDA,” Murkowski said. “If you listen to your folks back home this is important to them.”

The only GOP senator present who voted against sending the bill t was the ranking Republican on the committee, Sen. Lamar Alexander. The other six “no” votes were cast by proxy. Even Alexander, though, said nothing against the bill. To the contrary, he praised changes and compromises made to the bill already, suggested more that he would like to see, and praised the bill’s sole Republican sponsor on the committee and said that he will put forth three more amendments when the bill finally hits the floor.

One of the compromises made were the very broad religious exemptions written into the bill that if pass unchanged will actually write LGBT discrimination into law by exempting religious businesses, organizations and institutions from obeying it.

It was a big, bipartisan win, and we’re going this ride momentum to 60 votes by September,” Tico Almeida of Freedom to Work who helped write the exemptions said. “We think we can get to 60 votes in the Senate in September — possibly October if it takes that long.

The question is though at what cost.

The exemptions in ENDA mirror those of TitleVII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

This Act 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 pursuant (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.) to section 702(a) or 703(e)(2) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1(a), 2000e-2(e)(2)).

The troubling thing is that the exemptions written for Title VII were for differences of faith.  Not to discriminate against an entire subset of people.  It did not allow religious institutions to discriminate against women or blacks.  It only gave hiring preferences to members of the same faith.

In a recent editorial in the New York Times it was made clear that ENDA’s religious exemption “is far too broad and needs to be scaled back.” To quote the New York Times editorial:

…the exemption – extending well beyond just houses of worship to hospitals and universities, for example, and encompassing medical personnel, billing clerks and others in jobs that are not directly involved in any religious function – amounts to a license to engage in the discrimination that ENDA is meant to remedy.

And while Congress did not include a definition of the § 702(a) term “religious corporation” in Title VII, at least one judge has argued that the legislative history indicates that Congress intended “the § 703(e)(2) exemption to require a lesser degree of association between an entity and a religious sect than what would be required under § 702(a).”  See LeBoon v. Lancaster Jewish Cmty. Ctr., 503 F.3d 217, 237 (3d Cir. 2007) (Rendell, J., dissenting).

Another dangerous aspect of ENDA’s religious exemptions is that it legitimatizes the statements made by those in the extreme right against the LGBT community that being gay is wrong and sets a precedent for all further LGBT legislation.

And there are other problems.

In 2001 ,President Bush’s Executive Orders 13198 and 13199 created and set out organizational guidelines for a White House Office of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives.

In 2002, the most controversial Executive Order was issued – Executive Order 13279 – made it easier for churches and other faith-based organizations to receive federal money by letting them circumvent certain anti-discrimination laws.  Under the umbrella of the Faith-Based Initiative, the Bush administration began allowing discrimination with federal money for the first time since the 1960s.  Executive Order 13279, Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-Based and Community Organizations,  issued on December 12, 2002, provides that certain faith-based organizations that provide social programs can deliver those services and make hiring decisions on the basis of their religious beliefs even if they receive federal funding.

But none of this you are hearing from either Freedom to Work or the Human Rights Campaign who both 100 percent support the religious exemptions so that ENDA passes using the “Its better to pass something rather than nothing at all” mentality.

Id this reallt the ENDA that we have fought over 30 years for?

I’ll be on The Becky Juro Show, July 11th at 8:00 p.m. to discuss the religious exemption problems as well as others that are not being reported by our gay media.


LIVELINK – http://q1.fm




Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond Speaks Out Against Religious Exemptions In ENDA

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.