Why are LGBT Organizations and Democrats Pushing for a BAD ENDA?


By Melanie Nathan, November 04, 2013.

Cyndi Lauper -Give A Damn Campaigm - Fund Raising- ENDA
Cyndi Lauper -Give A Damn Campaigm – Fund Raising- ENDA

On Thursday the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).  It stands before the Senate as I write. But is it right? For the past few weeks we have been bombarded with e-mails from Senators and LGBT organizations alike, to support ENDA, as it currently stands in the Senate, noting,  that each and every e-mail we receive has the usual “donate now” button attached to the call for action.  I do not understand why almost all in our community, organizations and politicians alike, on the side of equality, support a Bill that has such great potential to cause more harm than good. And in any event we all know it will not pass the House. So what is the point-especially if there are already protections in place, with less onerous religious exemptions and about which no one seems to want to talk.

ENDA in its current form is riddled with broad and onerous religious exemptions, which are unacceptable. Yet HRC, Freedom to Work, Democratic leadership and many others are urging its passage in the Senate, as is!

What most fail to mention are the protections already in place for LGBT people through the Mia Macy case where the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),  ruled in April 2012, that the federal discrimination law will now protect employees based on gender identity. Employers who discriminate against an employee or potential employee is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As of a few weeks ago the law goes further to apply to contractors and may also apply to lesbians and gays under the notion of “gender stereotyping.”

The ENDA Bill is being described as a critically necessary and a politically risky bill at the same time. It is also being touted as the most profound gay rights bill to be heard in the Senate since the repeal of DADT. Yet we have barely heard from anyone, at this critical time, about the risks the religious exemptions actually pose to LGBT people, especially given the gains in case law, such as in the Mia Macy case and the other cases mentioned in that ruling.

Only one Senator is talking about the harm that the bill can cause for LGBT people and that is Senator Sherrod Brown.   Even Speaker Boehner has fallen for the political ploy that passage would be a victory for LGBT people. In fact the religious exemptions are so onerous and so broad that if Boehner had half a brain he would push it through this Congress so quickly, as in essence, it gives license for discrimination against LGBT people in a manner that may not otherwise be there unless passed.   John Boehner told MSNBC he will not support ENDA in the House as he believes it will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs.  I am actually grateful that Boehner does not have the brain to get that the religious exemptions serves his side far better than than the progressive side of the argument, especially given the ground we have won through existing case law and via the EEOC.

When ENDA was introduced earlier this year, the ACLU called for a narrowing of the religious exemptions and along with groups like the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, the Transgender Law Center, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, expressed serious concern for the exemptions. Except for GetEQUAL, a group which is making it known, at this time, that the exemptions are still a concern, all the groups are currently silent about their prior concerns, and all seem to be participating in the current push for ENDA.

Earlier in the year, NCLR, The Transgender Law Center  and others noted:

While we applaud the progress that has been made, we stand united in expressing very grave concerns with the religious exemption in ENDA. It could provide religiously affiliated organizations – far beyond houses of worship – with a blank check to engage in employment discrimination against LGBT people. Some courts have said that even hospitals and universities may be able to claim the exemption; thus, it is possible that a religiously affiliated hospital could fire a transgender doctor or a religiously affiliated university could terminate a gay groundskeeper. It 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. This sweeping, unprecedented exemption undermines the core goal of ENDA by leaving too many jobs, and LGBT workers, outside the scope of its protections.

We are fully committed to continuing to work for the passage of ENDA and an appropriate exemption for religious organizations. We remain hopeful that our allies in Congress will agree that singling out LGBT people alone for this kind of unequal and unfair exemption to otherwise applicable non-discrimination laws has no place in this historic legislation.

American Civil Liberties Union
Lambda Legal
National Center for Lesbian Rights
Transgender Law Center

Only GetEQUAL is speaking out today against the above broad exemptions and most organizations have failed to keep the concern about it alive and in the public eye.

When I did not see anything out in the past week about the broad religious exemption concern as a current issue, and only noted the  the push-push for ENDA, as is,  I contacted a few groups:

Ilona Turner, Legal Director fro  Trasgender Law center responded:

Just to clarify, Title VII, the law that the EEOC was applying in Macy — a case brought by Transgender Law Center — does have a limited religious exemption. It’s just much narrower than the exemption in the current version of ENDA, which is why we are concerned.

Transgender Law Center is very proud of our win in the Macy case, and we have said repeatedly that it’s critical to get the word out to transgender people and employers everywhere in the country that after Macy, transgender folks across the country now have recourse if they face discrimination on the job. We described the likely impact of the Macy decision in an FAQ we issued last year: http://transgenderlawcenter.org/issues/employment/eeocfa and also in a guide to filing complaints with the EEOC that we put out earlier this year: http://transgenderlawcenter.org/issues/employment/eeoccomplaint “

Yet, in truth all the groups are not speaking out publicly at this time, except GETEQUAL, about their concerns and they are simply allowing ENDA to pass the Senate as is.

Also the LGBT organizations are not only seeming to accept the onerous broad religious exemptions currently attached to ENDA, but no one is providing the critical information needed to the transgender, as well as lesbian and gays communities, that they already have full legal protection against employment discrimination through the impact of the Mia Macy case rulings.  Why have we not been educated, on a large scale, by these organizations to assume our rights under the EEOC. Why is the information on this barely out in there? Why have the LGBT organizations not held seminars and sent out notifications that LGBT people can lodge discrimination complaints to the EEOC under current law? Why is everyone so silent about the gains we have made? Yet so noisy about the passage of ENDA? While constantly hitting us with e-mails about ENDA – we barely hear about the remedies that are there in place, already.

Amidst a barrage of e-mails, to include those from Senators Leahy, Gilibrand, Franken, Baldwin and others, President Obama led the charge with yesterday’s OPED in the Huffington Post, calling for swift passage of ENDA. Neither the President nor any Senator even so much as mentioned the broad religious exemptions. And no one is talking about the Mia Macy case either.

Chad Griffin, of The Human Rights Campaign, who together with the Center for American Progress and Freedom to Work, not only justified but also endorsed the current broad religious exemptions in ENDA. Griffin appeared on MSNBC a few minutes ago, calling for unconditional passage of ENDA as it stands now.  He noted:

“Lets take stock of this vote. It is a no brainer for the American public. It has incredible bi-partisan support. Its a common sense American value.”

But not once did Griffin mention the onerous exemptions.  Like the others, Griffin is setting us up for the idea that a win in the Senate for the Bill, as is, is a victory for LGBT equality. I disagree!

Cyndi Lauper -Give A Damn Campaigm - Fund Raising- ENDA
Cyndi Lauper -Give A Damn Campaign – Fund Raising- ENDA

Protecting folks from being fired seems to be Griffin’s reason for pushing this form of ENDA, yet he failed to mention we are already protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Why?

The Washington Blade, one of the few in addition to us here at OBLOGDEE, reports on the concern for these exemptions and notes that Derek Washington, lead organizer for the LGBT group GetEQUAL Nevada,  said he raised these concerns with Senator Reid on a telephone call on Thursday.

The column notes that the language of the religious exemptions currently in ENDA is onerous and broader than similar exemptions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for categories of race, gender, religion and national origin.

“I mentioned to him that it was something that just was not palatable,” Washington said. “I asked him what he felt about it, and he felt that the main thing to do was get the vote taken care of, and then deal with it later. As often times happens, you don’t get something perfect the first time around, you go back and fix it later, so that was basically his take on it.”

Sean Eldridge Fund Raiser - running for Congress
Sean Eldridge Fund Raiser – running for Congress

Why are all the LGBT organization, which had previously expressed serious concern on the exemptions, now silent on the issue of the broad exemptions? Is this a safe way to conduct business on the Hill?  To hope that maybe somebody on the floor or at some point in the process will bring up a discussion on the religious exemptions.   And what is the chance of that when no one from our lead groups are mentioning it at all?

To me it feels like Russian roulette – especially when our own lead organizations have actually endorsed the exemptions and are publicly seen as satisfied with ENDA,  the way it currently stands – with the broad and onerous religious exemptions. Their justification – to get it past the conservatives?  Is that a good reason to marginalize our equality? To give license to discriminate when we already have laws to protect us? We are better off without it at all. Or surely we should be waiting for an emboldened Congress, one that is on our side, not against us, where we do not have to resort to legislation that includes the “right” to discriminate against us based on these broad religious exemptions.

Where are the progressive Democrats on the issue? Judging by the myriad of e-mails I have been receiving from every corner, it seems all are complicit in the marginalization, without any antecedent explanation as to intent when it comes to a later amendment or modification of these exemptions.

It seems all anyone wants is a so-called “victory”  at any cost, and such seems to include our own marginalization.  Clearly if HRC or any of the others were to talk about the ‘bad’ exemptions, then there is no victory and all will lose yet another fund raising opportunity.

The spin today is clear – all I am hearing is that we must pass ENDA. President Obama on Huffington Post, Nancy Pelosi, and all those Democratic senators mentioned above. Not to mention ‘would be’ members of Congress such as Sean Eldridge, also using “Pass Enda” as a call to donate. I have received e-mails from Organizing for Change, Credo, Cyndi Lauper’s Give A Damn, and many more attaching a “donate” button to their calls for this ENDA and not one,of them even mentions the potential risk and harm that this legislation poses if it passes in its current form.

I just don’t get it. It is unconscionable.

Organizing for Action- Fundraiser, based on ENDA
Organizing for Action- Fundraiser, based on ENDA

Today while ENDA stands before the Senate, no one else is talking about what we already have in place and few are talking about how we must amend those religious exemption if we are going to pass ENDA in the long run.

The Blade article went on to note that:

That symbolizes the situation with narrowing the broad religious exemption in ENDA before the Senate approves the bill. Despite concerns that it’s too expansive, the idea of limiting it at this time — such as the amendment process — isn’t getting a lot of traction either from LGBT advocates or lawmakers.

Instead, those with concerns over ENDA’s religious exemption have more modest aspirations: Get LGBT friendly lawmakers in the Senate to speak out against the language on the Senate floor.

Ian Thompson, legislative representative for the American Civil Liberties Union, is among those saying he’s not seeking an amendment to religious exemption on the Senate floor, but wants the provision addressed in some way.

So does that mean even the ACLU is selling us out? Or will we really see a heartfelt discussion on the floor today?

The Blade: “By doing that, it’s certainly our hope more and more pro-equality members of Congress and their staff will come to understand the potential harm of the current exemption, and I think we’ll see growing support for narrowing it moving forward,” Thompson said.

Heather Cronk, co-director of GetEQUAL, said her organization “didn’t anticipate” being able to change the religious exemption, but is looking for senators to speak out against the language.

“What we were hoping for for — which hasn’t happened yet because the senators haven’t gone to the floor yet — is for some of the more progressive senators to speak out from the floor against the religious exemption,” Cronk said. “So, we’ll wait and see what happens on the floor to see if we get those statements.”

GetEQUAL has petitioned four senators with a reputation for being champions of progressive values — Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) — to speak out against the religious exemption. As of Sunday, the petition has just under 6,000 signatures.

Granted, many are of the opinion that Congress will not pass any ENDA through the House, not even an ENDA that is tainted by broad religious exemptions. So what is the point of this fight – the pleas- the money please? Why do we fight for something that is not good enough and maybe even downright bad?  Perhaps it IS all about the rah rah of a perceived victory that is really all about money. Another “send us more please,” opportunity!

Also On Nov 01,  HRC sent out this statement in an e-mail pushing for the ENDA vote:

Here’s the problem,” notes the HRC statement, “Right now in 29 states, there is no state law protecting a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person from being fired or denied employment just because of who they are? and the same is true in 33 states for transgender people.” 

I ask, does anyone believe this to be an accurate statement, given there is no mention in the e-mail of Mia Macy remedies, and if it is accurate I would like an explanation as to why the Mia Macy case does not cover the cases anticipated by this statement?

I spoke to Mia Macy, who fought to secure transgender rights with her case that ought to now have landmark status, yet is barely cited by lead organizations. She noted that her biggest concern, including the fact that the gains she contributed to with her case yield only narrow religious exemptions and not the broad exemptions that ENDA  could now impose,  is that there is not an abundance of the critical information out there for LGBT employees and potential employees to note, that they have remedies and valid complaints under current law for workplace discrimination.

She noted that this information, if properly out there now, could actually help and even save lives of so many who have been discriminated against in the workplace.  “So many do not know about this EEOC ruling that became law from the case of Macy v. Holder and are despondent when fired.”   She told me that she believes because of the hype around ENDA, it is perceived now by so many as the only chance of a remedy, is far from the truth, and many people do not know that they are already protected.  It is up to our organizations to provide all of the information and to do it clearly, not selectively.  They have failed. And the Democrats seem to be in lockstep. What a shame.

So with that said, ENDA is about to pass the Senate cloture and while it is not good enough and not likely to pass the House, can we please start talking about and spending some of our LGBT dollars on getting the word out that there are remedies available, right now!

UPDATED 11/04/2013- 5:20 PM

ENDA reached 61 votes for cloture tonight, which means that the bill will be debated (and possibly amended) on the Senate floor. That process should begin tomorrow, and there will then be a vote to end debate that will also have to reach 60 votes in order to hold the final vote (which just requires 51 votes)…








UPDATED 9.05 Pm PST Nov 04, 2013.: Here come the Fund Raising letters since ENDA passed the cloture… In fact some organizations are incorrectly are saying it passed the Senate, instead of noting it passed the procedural cloture and is coming up for debate:

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 9.02.44 PM

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 9.07.07 PM

22 thoughts on “Why are LGBT Organizations and Democrats Pushing for a BAD ENDA?

  1. Better a narrow loss than a narrow victory. A narrow defeat allows regrouping, brings issues up for public discussion, allows affected LGBT to tell their stories, all leading up to a resounding victory.

    Religious exemptions are anathema, but it may be something to live with for a while if at least the broad thrust of the bill can start to bite. In the long run, it can’t make religions look good when they argue that LGBT people should not have the right to work yet they won’t pay them the dole either. How “Christian” is that, to wish starvation to death on other human beings?

    1. So you buy into our marginalization and did you read the Mia Macy case? That we ALREADY have rights with limited and narrow exemptions? Why dont we scream from the rooftops that we already have ENDA-like rights? Instead of screaming from the rooftops that we have nothing and that we want ENDA to in essence – waive what we have already accomplished through case law? I dont get the thinking here Derek?

  2. I think there’s a lot of answers to your question:

    1. Expedience: Everyone knows that getting agreement on these terrible exemptions is the only reason the bill is moving at all. If we want a new bill, it will require a whole new lobbying effort that starts at 0.
    2. Coalition nightmares: Good luck trying to convince a dozen organizations that we should introduce a new bill. And what would that new bill look like? Who will decide? What are their qualifications? And so on…
    3. Elasticity: Even if we all agree on a bill, getting all the senators to support a new bill will take forever. Legislators are total diva hipsters. They’re too cool to care about anything – even if it’s the most important thing in the world, they have way too much else to do. Getting them to support this bill was a monumental effort. Trying to convince them that they should support something else will be even more difficult.
    4. Momentum: A vote on ENDA – even if it’s not the bill we want – is better than no bill at all. It shows momentum and lays the groundwork for “real” passage.
    5. “Everyone knows” it will not pass the House this session. So why not get what we can?

    1. 1. What are we getting Jordan? If it does not make the House what exactly is the point beyond fund raising opps?
      2. What about the Mia Macy case that already confers many of these rights with narrow religious exemptions
      3. Some say the Mia Macy case even impacts gays and lesbian and not just transgender

      So whats the point of this whole endeavor?

      Maybe they can fight for amendments on the floor in tomorrow’s debtae – not likely. No one is asking for a whole new Bill – at least not until the next Congress sits with maybe a a lot more dems

  3. 1. We’re getting the legitimacy of having passed ENDA in the Senate. The conventional wisdom with big LGBT orgs and our allies on the hill is that this will make it easier to pass the bill “for real” when we have a favorable House. And good news is good news, right?

    Get off the idea that this is a fundraising opportunity — I know everyone loves to believe that every big gay org is a Machiavellian scheme to raise money, but people at those orgs really do believe in the cause and do this because they want equality. Yes, fundraising is a part of it, and yes, many of these orgs use the worst possible moment to fundraise for something they intend to do, instead of for things they’ve actually won on — I get that. But I also don’t think that claiming that everything is a conspiracy is useful to having a real discussion about our strategic efforts. Believe me, I am the first to criticize organizations like HRC which generally have flawed strategy, but I also don’t think their only purpose in pushing for ENDA is to fundraise. They want to win equality – we all do, right?

    2./3. I don’t think you’ve adequately made the case that the Mia Macy case already confers these rights to all parties involved. Yes, I understand that it bars federal agencies from discriminating on the basis of gender identity, but what about everyone else?

    Again, the point of the endeavor is to show momentum, to mark up a win, and to have a bunch of legislators on the record for, or against, this.

    Let me give you another example of how we can use this opportunity: This is the first time the Senate has voted on this since 1996, so most of these senators are not actually on record about a stand-alone gay bill. Concerns about the religious exemptions put aside for a moment, this is a vital whipcount that we can now use as a weapon. For those who voted FOR filibuster, we know who they are and can shame them. For those who voted with us, we can thank them and use their support to show others why they should support us.

    1. They are voting on a flawed BILL. And that is okay with you? Read our article on what Julian Bond had to say about this. And then tell me you still think it is ok? We have not heard a single Senator talk about the broad religious exemptions. We heard one Senator assert that there is not LGBT protection in Title VII- that is WRONG. Read the case law and make your own conclusions. Certainly the Macy case impacts the Transgender community and case law will flush out that it also impacts the L and the g under the new definition “gender stereotyping” . Why have the LGBT groups not pushed the community to file complaints under the Mia Macy law, creating the much needed and sorely missing awareness around what we have actually accomplished. its almost like a big secret. So much so that even the Senators dont seem to know about it. I wish I had more time to make the case, but I do not. People can read the cases and draw their own conclusions. Google the case anf you will see that employment law firms who are not activists in our community have already drawn these conclusions. I just don’t have time or resources to spend on this.

    2. Jordon do you not work for Credo? One of the Petition sites that went ‘hell for leather’ on this ENDA legislation, not even mentioning the religious exemptions – ever? I mean how does CREDO make its money? By having issues that you can push and then claim victory around pending the next series of donation related petitions? Perhaps Credo’s model is different seeing you assert that this was not done with FUND RAISE a motive?

      1. I do work for CREDO, but the opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect the opinion or stance of my employer.

        CREDO is not “a petition site” — it’s a social change company that has raised over $75 MILLION in the last 25 years for progressive advocacy and non-profit organizations, including GLAAD, GLSEN, Freedom to Marry, HRC, National AIDS Network, National Minority AIDS Council, NCLR, NGLTF among many other organizations, both LGBT and non. (CREDO is the largest corporate donor to Planned Parenthood, for example.)

        CREDO Mobile offers a number of products — cell phone service, long distance service, and a CREDO-branded credit card — for each of those products, a portion of total sales goes to funding the organizations I mentioned above. The business also supports our advocacy work as CREDO Action, where we mobilize our list of 3.3 million members to take action, like calling and petitioning Congress.

        Hope that helps clarify what I mean when I say that our goal in mobilizing our members is not fundraising.

        1. Well the petitions create large numbers of people collected to enhance the practice of the businesses. Credo wants its Petitions to generate huge numbers as it fosters the overall business. Its great that it provides charity etc. However it also provides salaries and relies on the success of generating numbers. Only a potion of all that business goes to charity. The rest covers hefty profits and hefty salaries. The bottom line is CREDO put out a Petition and did not inform signatories of the onerous religious exemptions AT ALL and that petition generated hug mail list for CREDO and its profit enterprise.

          1. That characterization is incorrect on multiple points and assumes way too much. That said, I’ll just let our activism and the $75m we’ve raised for progressive non-profits speak for itself :)

  4. Also, from this: http://gaycitynews.com/enda_clears_senate_hurdle/

    “Ian S. Thompson, a legislative representative at the ACLU who took a lead role in issuing the spring statement on the exemption, told Gay City News that he views the bill’s current language as “sweeping” and “unprecedented.” Allowing hospitals and universities to claim such exemptions, he said, is “far afield” of any legitimate or customary practice.

    Still, he acknowledged that he and other critics of the language are not pressing to change it now. “The next best opportunity is when sponsors come together in 2015,” Thompson said, noting the unlikelihood of House action before then.

    He said he was not concerned that approving the bill with the existing exemption would imperil the chance to change it in the next session of Congress. “We can win the vote this year and improve it later,” Thompson said.”

    1. Sorry I am disgusted at the continued self marginalization. It IS NO victory Its a circus for a rah rah

  5. Let me put it this way: I think the benefit of the Senate passing a bill that bars discrimination — and includes gender identity — is better than not having a vote at all. Again, I agree that these religious exemptions are terrible. I believe that we should fight to ensure they are removed by the next time around. I just disagree that this is “self marginalization,” considering the fact that most everyone is in agreement that this bill will not be passed into law. It’s a victory name that, hopefully, opens the door for a better bill in the next session.

    1. Ok Jordan so what is the point of the Bill? Just to make a statement against discrimination? It endorses discrimination! It will always stand that it passed with EXTREMELY onerous very braod exemptions that exceed those of Title VII. That negates its value – if only people were educated accordingly. You cannot hide the truth. For us to cheer over such a BILL is a misrepresentation of the reality of the Bill. What? Are we going to say its okay to just pull the wool over everyone’s eyes and pretend the exemptions are not there? I do not get the logic behind your admission.

      1. Melanie, I’ve explained my point repeatedly. At this point we’re just rehashing the same questions again. Perhaps I’m not explaining myself well enough, but I don’t see any reason to just talking in circles — it’s a waste of time for you and me. I think I’ve made my point to the best of my ability, and the reason why I’m supporting this bill, and why I think it’s a useless waste of time to try and undermine ENDA as it stands.

        We are both on the same page about the religious exemptions being wrong, bad, and something that should not end up in the final, passed bill. We are both on the same page that the final, passed ENDA should not contain religious exemptions of this nature. ENDA will undoubtedly pass the Senate this week, so now it’s just up to advocates to convince our allies, and new Republican supporters, that these religious exemptions are too broad.

        1. Its not talking in circles because you have not told me why you advocated for it with religious exemptions that you know are wrong. What makes you think they can go OUT of the Bill if no one is speaking about that NOW? And what makes you think they will be taken out of a House version if people like HRC and Freedom to Work are “selling” the exemptions as being a way to capture Republican votes? I just dont get it. I am asking VERY direct question which you have yet to answer. You are simply saying “maybe” a finale version wil not have them. Like I say in the article that is like Russian Roulette – SPin the barrel and pulll the triuger and lets see what happens?

          1. Again, I’m only speaking for myself here: I explain my support for passing this version of ENDA through the Senate in this comment: http://bit.ly/17LfooU

            Here’s why I think that a better bill can pass next time: There’s room for legislators to evolve. Portman and six other Republicans are living proof that we can change peoples’ minds! Who would have expected Republicans to be on board two or three years ago? So I believe that it’s definitely possible to convince them to support a bill with narrowed exemptions. I totally agree that it will require pressure and lobbying, and I definitely believe that big gay orgs should write a better bill — perhaps even just adding us to the 1964 Civil Rights Act — and sell that to legislators.

            I DON’T think the religious exemptions will come out of the House bill this time around. But I also have absolutely zero faith that the House bill will come up for a vote or even be discussed on the floor of the House, so I’m okay with the bill as it is. And I agree — orgs like HRC and FtW are pushing the religious exemptions as a reason to support the bill. I think that’s wrong-headed strategy, even though it was the only way it got us over the 60-vote filibuster.

            Again, I want to reiterate what I feel is the most important point: We were able to get 23 Senators on the record AGAINST ENDA. That’s REALLY important! In an election, that’s great fodder for campaigns working to unset these people. Look at Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe — Cuccinelli’s NRA support was a huge liability to him in the election: http://on.tnr.com/HvrWGK The refusal of these Republicans to support equality is a weapon. It also gives us the opportunity to have people mobilize against them, calling and petition and visiting their offices demanding they support equality.

            I believe that you’re mistaking my support for the ENDA bill that exists this week as an endorsement of the religious exemptions. I see the bill, and the successful passage through the Senate, as setting the foundation for a greater success in the next Congress, nothing more.

            1. BUT urgh – you ONLY got those extra Senators because they knew the religious exemptions were so broad.

  6. In addition to the gaping hole of bigotry Section 6 legalizes in the arena of employment, it also sets precedent for the inclusion of similar “conscience clause” or “First Amendment Supremacy Clause” legislation in other bills as we saw attempted for the Affordable Care Act. We queers, while doing nothing but showing some sort of momentum, will set ugly precedent that the bigots will use to harm other struggles against religious bigotry claimed as ‘deeply held religious beliefs” like women’s reproductive healthcare. Is that really worth it?

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