NYT Rips ENDA’s ‘Terribly Broad’ Religious Exemption

The troubling religious exemption in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which we've reported here has caused much concern among some activist groups, gets ripped by the New York Times:

EndaThe Employment Nondiscrimination Act, however, has a significant flaw — a terribly broad religious exemption. The exemption would extend beyond churches and other houses of worship to any religiously affiliated institution, like hospitals and universities, and would allow those institutions to discriminate against people in jobs with no religious function, like billing clerks, cafeteria workers and medical personnel.

The exemption — which was inserted to appease some opponents who say the act threatens religious freedom — is a departure from the approach of earlier civil rights laws. And though the law would protect millions of workers from bias, the exemption would give a stamp of legitimacy to the very sort of discrimination the act is meant to end. Any attempt to further enlarge the exemption should be rejected.


  1. Alex Parrish says

    I feared that was the case with the religious exemption when I heard it had passed the Senate. Since it has no chance in hell of passing the house anyway it is just an opportunity to show republicans for the bigots they are. They should wait and pass it once sanity has taken hold of the house and senate again — after the next election.

  2. GregV says

    I these “religious exemption clauses” were really about “religious freedom” and not just anti-gay/bi/trans animus specifically, then there would be an attempt to add it across the board and not ONLY when sexual orientation and identity come up.
    Where were all these fighters for “religious freedom” when protections for religion itself were added? Why did the Baptist lawmakers not argue that atheists should be allowed to deny them housing if they sincerely take issue with Baptist doctrine, and why did the Mormons not argue for exemptions to allow Catholic-run hospitals to refuse to hire Mormon cafeteria workers and clerks?
    Among anti-gay lawmakers who are racial minorities, where were their voices when race proections added years ago did not exempt landlords who “religiously” believe that the Tower of Babel means racial minorities shouldn’t be allowed in their building?

    This has nothing to do with “religious freedom,” which already has ample protection and does not need to be underlined ONLY every time gay people are mentioned.

  3. Craig says

    To those asking “Why bother given the House won’t pass it,” This is why! We need a public discussion on ENDA. Hell, most people think such a federal law already exists. We need the public discourse over the extent the law should have and what, if any exemptions should be allowed. This only helps it get us towards the day when we can get it passed. Allowing it to be ignored with no action delays that eventuality.

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