July 10, 2014 at 10:03 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
GLAA opposes ENDA over religious exemption
Jeri Hughes and Risk Rosendall

Jeri Hughes and Rick Rosendall. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, D.C.’s leading non-partisan LGBT advocacy group, voted at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night to declare its opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA.

GLAA becomes one of the first prominent local LGBT groups to join a growing number of national LGBT advocacy organizations that have announced their opposition to ENDA within the past two weeks.

The groups have cited a religious exemption provision that was added to ENDA at the time it passed in the Senate last year as the main reason for the opposition to the pending federal legislation. The groups, including GLAA, say the exemption clause would allow an unacceptably large number of religious organizations to continue to discriminate or fire LGBT employees working in non-religious positions.

“In its current form, sweeping religious exemptions in ENDA could enshrine anti-LGBT discrimination into law by allowing far more organizations to bypass civil rights protections than are permitted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” GLAA President Rick Rosendall said in a statement.

He was referring to the landmark 1964 civil rights law that bans discrimination in employment and other areas based on race, religion and ethnicity. The law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity and thus excludes LGBT people from being protected from discrimination.

Various forms of ENDA have been pending in Congress for more than 40 years. Leaders of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives have refused to take a vote on the version of ENDA passed by the Senate. Most political observers don’t believe any version of ENDA could pass in the House as long as the current GOP leadership remains in control of the body.


Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • GLAA and others within the community that now oppose ENDA don’t speak for the whole community. Who cares what you bitches oppose? Where is my vote on what to do about ENDA?

    If you get a perfect bill then hell would likely have frozen over. We can’t get the bill out to have a fully vote in Congress and you’re wasting even more time whining about the religious exemption. What is the extend the it? If it’s only limited to religious organization and does not extend to secular businesses or the state, local or federal governments then who cares. I don’t want to work for Liberty University.

    We often get nowhere with shortsighted idiots who have an all or nothing attitude about everything! These people shouldn’t be in leadership positions let alone setting policy for the community agenda.

    Wake up. Obama won’t be President forever and we may have a harder time getting any legislation passed with a new President who doesn’t have an equally just and supportive mindset for our community. You can’t take it for granted that GLBT people will always have the influence they have now with the White House.

  • Freedom OF religion includes freedom FROM religion. As they’ve been doing pretty consistently for more than four decades, GLAA got it right again. Thank you, GLAA.
    It is time that Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and others stop trying to segregate LGBT civil rights from the civil rights of other minorities and women. We need no new legislative closets built just for LGBTs– nor pink IDs to designate us separate and unequal. HRC ought to understand that, too, or they should change their logo.
    LGBT rights will be better secured by full, uncompromising INCLUSION in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and its related subsequent legislation.
    When it comes to civil and human rights, the lesson of a more horrific time and place ought remind all of us of why whole groups of people are separated, identified and treated differently.

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