OMAHA, NE – The National Center for Lesbian Rights went on record against supporting ENDA a few weeks ago. It was joined Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Transgender Law Center, Lambda Legal,Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund.
The Equality Pledge Network officially launched last week to push for one-bill strategy for full federal equality, calling for Congress to “Add4Words” to existing statutes as a solution to LGBT inequality issues. The American Equality Bill would add Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to existing laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 1972 Education Amendment Act, Fair Housing Act and Fair Credit to name a few which would affect areas of Employment, Education, Public Accommodation, Public Facilities, Housing, Federally Funded Programs and Credit to name a few. ENDA only covers employment, and LGBT groups now balk at ENDA’s expansive religious exemptions, basically codifying discrimination for religious excuses. Time to move on to bigger and better ideas for full equality.
“What has really shifted critically in the last year is a view among many people that efforts to misuse religious liberty to discriminate against LGBT people is not acceptable,” says Ian Thompson, a legislative representative in the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. LGBT groups have expressed their discomfort with the religious exemption clause at every step of the way. Now the ACLU and other groups are citing a few key developments in recent months that pushed them to change their positions. Examples, an attempt by Arizona lawmakers to pass a law that would have allowed people and businesses to discriminate in hiring and service practices on the basis of religion. The bill, known as SB 1062, was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer under extreme pressure not only from LGBT activists, but the business community and national politicians. Mississippi’s freedom to discriminate law went into affect July 1st. The straw that broke the camel’s back is quite possibly the recent SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision.
See more: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/07/09/why-lgbt-groups-turned-on-enda
While some groups, including “Big Gay Inc” HRC still support ENDA, the recent announcement from dissenting LGBT groups is a huge blow to the struggling legislation and a big boost to supporting the idea of an all encompassing one bill strategy that would add four words to current statutes with existing protected classes. HRC did come out Wednesday voicing ultimate support for comprehensive full equality legislation.
See American Equality Bill info: http://nebraskansforequality.org/pledge
This situation has been a long time coming as grassroots activity has been growing in recent years to support a one-bill strategy that would add 4 words (sexual orientation gender identity) to existing statutes. ENDA only covers employment discrimination, but existing statutes cover more areas. Existing statutes like Civil Rights Act of 1964, Fair Housing Act, Fair Credit Act and 1972 Education Amendment Act cover areas of employment, public facilities, public accommodation, federally funded programs, education, housing and credit to name a few. A one bill strategy would identify and add to those existing protected classes in existing statutes these four words: sexual orientation gender identity.
The best birthday present ever is handfuls of LGBT groups dumping ENDA on the same day . Time for better, broader and bigger pro-LGBT legislation folks!!! Don’t give these religious bigots an inch, (ie Hobby Lobby, Mississippi LGBT discrimination law) because they ARE taking the full mile!!
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