The thing to focus on as we consider and debate the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with lawmakers, family, and friends is whether or not people should be fired just for being who they are.
On Thursday, the Senate voted on a provision that would have allowed bosses to use religion to discriminate against their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees. That’s right—yet another effort to use religion as an excuse to discriminate.
The religious exemptions currently folded into the Employment Non-Discrimination Act are broad enough to allow Catholic schools to continue firing teachers for being gay. But these base religious exemptions were not broad enough to satisfy some key Republican senators.
It has little chance of passing, but Sen. David Vitter hopes to attach a destructive anti-choice amendment to a landmark non-discrimination vote, according to news reports.
To accept the broad religious exemptions in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, is in an insult to the incredible progress the LGBTQ community has already made.
ENDA would protect many LGBTQ individuals from workplace discrimination, something a strong majority of Americans support. However, the proposed version of the law would not protect LGBTQ employees at Catholic schools and some other religiously affiliated institutions.
Assurances that federal workplace anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people will exempt religious bodies from oversight should mollify conservatives, but they don’t.
An inclusive ENDA banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in workplaces has been re-introduced in Congress.
Women and queers share common enemies, because we share the same goal: liberation from rigid sex roles and other oppressive restrictions on our lives.