USA: A Few ENDA Updates

Written by scott on November 9th, 2013

Washington DC LegislatureNow that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act has passed the US Senate, we have a few follow-ups for you.

First off, Mormons helped pass ENDA in the Senate.

The New York Times reports:

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who at 79 is one of the Senate’s longest-serving members, became the first Republican to signal he would reverse his opposition as the bill faced a crucial vote in committee. He voted against a similar bill the last time it came up in the Senate — 17 years ago — but changed his mind earlier this year after Gordon H. Smith, a fellow Mormon and former Republican senator, convinced him there was nothing in it that violated church doctrine. “The church does want to be helpful where we can be, without violating our own conscience,” Mr. Smith, a former bishop, said in an interview. And as the bill approached a vital vote earlier this week, Senator Dean Heller, the Nevada Republican who has taught Sunday school at his Mormon church, provided the crucial 60th vote to break a filibuster. In the end, all but two of the Senate’s seven Mormons voted yes.

This newfound support for LGBT rights pointedly does NOT extend to marriage equality.

Openly gay House representative Jared Polis believes the bill would pass the House, if Boehner would bring it to a vote.

The Washington Blade reports:

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who’s gay and co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, predicted during an interview with the Washington Blade Friday that ENDA would pass the House and said the next step for the bill is to pressure Republican leaders to bring it to the floor. He added that a number of undeclared Republicans have privately told him they’d vote “yes.” “The next step is, of course, to continue to apply pressure to the speaker and the majority leader to bring it to the floor, where I’m confident it has enough support to pass,” Polis said. “The best way to do that is to demonstrate it has that support and continuing to add co-sponsors, particularly more Republican co-sponsors to ENDA so that we can have a stronger case to make that we need to bring it before the House to the floor for a vote.”

President Obama is thinking along similar lines.

On Top Magazine reports:

“Today’s victory is a tribute to all those who fought for this progress ever since a similar bill was introduced after the Stonewall riots more than three decades ago.”
“Now it’s up to the House of Representatives,” the president added. “This bill has the overwhelming support of the American people, including a majority of Republican voters, as well as many corporations, small businesses and faith communities. They recognize that our country will be more just and more prosperous when we harness the God-given talents of every individual.”

What do you guys think about the current version of ENDA? On the one hand, it is transgender inclusive, and would offer protections not available before to LGBT workers. OTOH, its religious exemptions are overly broad, and could lead to problems down the road. Where do you stand?

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3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Tom says:

    What if the 1964 Civil Rights Act contained the exact same kind of broad religious exemptions? If it is OK to include them ENDA, why not amend the Civil Rights Act to include them too?

  2. Lucinda says:

    I believe that there should be employment protection against discrimination for all. I am very saddened that religious groups are fighting for the right to continue to discriminate. And I think ENDA should pass even with those awful exemptions. I am praying that those groups who want those exemptions will soon see how wrong they were for wanting them and that it will be a moot point. As MLK did, I also have a dream…

  3. Ned Flaherty says:

    Human slavery was also defended as “religious.” Denying women the right to vote was also defended as “religious.” The rape, pillage, and plunder of Native American tribes and lands was also defended as “religious.”

    Anyone can launch a religion, and any crackpot superstition can be written into its “holy” scripture.

    That’s precisely why, under the U.S. Constitution:

    1. everyone has freedom of religion and also freedom from religion; and
    2. no one is allowed to impose their religious practices upon anyone else.

    None of ENDA’s “inclusivity” is of any use, because ENDA’s “exclusivity” excuses any employer who merely claims some religious affiliation.

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