Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Religious Demise of ENDA


With the Supreme Court’s obscene decision last week in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby it has become clear that the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which allows religious organizations to discriminate based on sexual orientation & gender identity must not pass. In a joint statement on withdrawal of support for ENDA the following national organizations have signed on to remove this provision in the current bill. They include American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights & Transgender Law Center & are calling on equal workplace protections for LGBT people. An example of how this religious exemption becomes LGBT discrimination appears in the case of Matthew Barrett. In July 2013 Matthew was offered a job as food services director at Fontbonne Academy a college prep high school in Milton, Massachusetts that is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. Fontbonne Academy has employees & admits students of various faiths. However two days after Matthew listed his husband as his emergency contact on the standard employment paperwork & despite twenty years of work in the food services industry, his job offer was rescinded. Although nothing about the food services job involved religious rituals or teaching Matthew was told by an administrator that the school was unable to hire him because the Catholic religion doesn’t recognize gay & lesbian marriage. The current version of ENDA would authorize this sexual orientation discrimination.
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