Gay/Lesbian Issues

Another Likely End for ENDA—Or Will It Return Even Stronger?

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Anybody know whether she's alive or dead these days?
Marvel Comics

It appears as though the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) may be dead again. This legislation—outlawing employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity—has died more times than the average comic book character.

The last time it died, it was amid a fight over whether to include gender identity to protect transgender workers. Supporters and sponsors of ENDA agreed to strip out the transgender protections to increase the likelihood of legislation passing. This caused a rift among civil liberties and gay activists groups who balked at the omission. Despite the "protection for some is better than protection for none" argument and increasing support from Republicans, it died in 2011.

Introduced again in 2013 in the House by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and the Senate by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), ENDA made it farther along the road to passage than it ever has. It passed the Senate in April of last year, even drawing support from the likes of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

But now it looks like it's going to die again, not at the hands of Republicans or religious conservatives, but at the hands of gay and civil rights groups. ENDA excludes religious organizations and non-profits from its rules and in the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling, groups are now withdrawing their support for the law, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the American Civil Liberties Union among them. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is still supporting ENDA, just as they did during the kerfuffle over whether to included transgender workers. They kind of have to—ENDA is their baby, essentially. Despite having their logo plastered all over the gay marriage debate, they've always been really more about fighting employment discrimination.

The Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby has been tossed out as an explanation or excuse, but that logic doesn't exactly follow. The majority ruling, based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, argued that the government failed to pursue the "least restrictive means" to achieve its aims of providing access to contraceptives by requiring employers pay for them. It doesn't seem at all likely that, presuming the government could argue it has a compelling interest in stopping employment discrimination, an anti-discrimination law wouldn't pass a "least restrictive means" test.

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed (before you dismiss the source, Geidner does significant amount of reporting on legal issues affecting the gay community) suggests that this sudden shift isn't an implosion, but rather a belief that shifting attitudes toward gays, lesbians and transgender people mean even stronger legislation could be introduced and passed:

The real question is what the bill will look like when introduced in the next session of Congress. Will it only focus on employment, or will it include additional areas like public accommodations, housing, education, or lending? And, regarding today's debate, will it include a streamlined religious exemption or will it continue building on this year's exemption? (None of this even gets into Republicans' support for the bill, and whether their support — from key congressional supporters like Sens. Susan Collins and Mark Kirk and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to the American Unity Fund and Log Cabin Republicans — is contingent upon the religious exemption remaining as is.)

Even some of the other organizations still supporting today's ENDA, like the National Center for Transgender Equality and Freedom to Work, signaled to BuzzFeed that next year could be different with regard to the religious exemption.

While Freedom to Work's Tico Almeida continues to support ENDA, as passed by the Senate, he said of the group's work to lobby for ENDA this year that "increasing the numbers of co-sponsors of ENDA this year increases the chances of a stronger bill getting introduced next year." When asked if getting "a stronger bill" included seeking a more narrow religious exemption, Almeida said that it did.

Support for antidiscrimination laws that protect gays and lesbians is high, according to polls, and actually has been for years. The opponents tend to be the religious for religious reasons and us libertarians for thinking that "freedom of association" actually still applies even when we think the outcomes are reprehensible.

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45 responses to “Another Likely End for ENDA—Or Will It Return Even Stronger?

  1. I heard the GLBTBBQ spokeswoman on the radio speaking to the effect that they would love ENDA but in this hostile political climate they can’t support a bill that allows freedom of religion to prosecute them.

    Hobby Lobby was that bad? It’s a sign of hostility and religious fervor in this country? Jeez, these people.

  2. At the rate new protected classes are being created, it won’t be long before every individual has a non-discrimination law all of his own.

    1. They already do. You can no more discriminate against a person for being white than you can for being black.

      1. -1 diversity requirement

        Asians laugh at you, when they get over their bitterness.

        /CA university system

        1. ProgTony is not acquainted with the real world that the rest of us live in, being safely ensconced inside the beltway (for now).

          1. The real world being the one in which white heterosexual Christian males are the most put-upon class of all?

            1. The real one in which less qualified candidates/students are given preference over more qualified candidates/students based on skin color.

              1. Well I’m glad you’re on top of the really pressing problems of the world.

                1. Well I’m glad you’re on top of the really pressing problems of the world.

                  Lame deflection.

                2. There’s something vaguely unsettling about Tony posting such sexual hints on Hit n Run, and then — going away.

  3. Supporters and sponsors of ENDA agreed to strip out the transgender protections to increase the likelihood of legislation passing. This caused a rift among civil liberties and gay activists groups who balked at the omission.

    Civil liberties now means abridging the freedom of association? Christ, we gave these people “liberal,” they took on “progressive” to hide their Marxist roots, but don’t let them have “civil liberties” in the name of shanking businessmen over identity politics!

    1. Civil liberties now means abridging the freedom of association?

      Only for about 50 years now.

  4. The objection is that the language itself will permit discrimination against LGBT people in religiously affiliated institutions (including universities, hospitals, etc.) in a way that’s broader than other religious exemptions. So you can discriminate against people based on religious if you’re hiring a chaplain at a religious hospital. ENDA now would enshrine into law that these institutions can discriminate against people in hiring just for being gay, meaning janitors and nurses and what have you.

    We shouldn’t make it law that discriminating against LGBT people in hiring is a genuine religious belief deserving government endorsement.

    1. “We shouldn’t make it law that discriminating against LGBT people in hiring is a genuine religious belief deserving government endorsement.”

      So religious belief is exactly what YOU say it is instead of what bleevers say it is?
      That’s pretty slimy, even for you.

      1. I’m saying government should only allow religion to serve as an excuse to ignore law sparingly.

        1. What’s your test for determining when it should and when it shouldn’t?

          1. When you demonstrate such a strong devotion to your religion that you don’t use electricity because of it. Stuff like that.

            1. Who gets to appoint this Arbiter?

              1. Fine. No exemptions. The law applies to everyone, and you can take your fairy tale shit and shove it back up a bull’s ass. I don’t care. Congress decides these things, what do you want?

                1. I’m asking you, ProgTony, who gets to appoint the Arbiter. Somebody has to. Who?

                  1. The standards are set in laws of Congress and disputes handled in the judiciary, just like normal.

                    1. So, arbitrary and with capriciousness. That’s what freedom is to you. Enjoy it when it doesn’t work in your favor.

                    2. It often doesn’t work in my favor. What alternative to representative democracy are you trying to endorse?

                    3. One that eliminates arbitrary and capricious decisions and enforcements with guaranteed protections from same.

                    4. I don’t even know what this conversation is about.

                    5. It’s this new idea I had called constitutional republic with respect for individual rights. Basically you can do whatever the fuck you want as long as you don’t infringe on another persons rights to life, liberty, and property. But I suppose we could always go with your mix of mob rule and dictatorship. I’m sure the mob and the dictators they choose will always love you.

                    6. So a world in which there are no laws that you don’t like… Sounds lovely.

                      Are you people tweens?

                    7. Are you people tweens?

                      You have no counter argument, so that’s what you go with? Not exactly intellectually rigorous, much less honest. Not that we’re surprised, of course, we’ve always known this about you, but it is nice to get a refresher on your lack of intelligence.

                    8. It’s just my experience that people who think they deserve to get their way at all times no matter how many other people are involved in the matter tend to be young teenagers.

                    9. Yes we are all acquainted with your view of minority viewpoints. Your proggy forebears would be proud.

                2. Tony – when *Sevo* says you’re being too intolerant of religion, it’s time to rethink your position.

            2. Then denying access to contraceptives denying coverage for abortifacients doesn’t make the cut?

            3. @Tony…So you basically haven’t read any of the cases about the Supreme Court and religion and have no idea how that idea syncs up constitutionally.

              Here’s a book recommendation for you…I suggest you start with Watson v. Jones.

              http://www.baylorpress.com/Boo…..ality.html

              1. ProgTony closely resembles this imbecile so don’t get your hopes up.

                But then Carter said he hadn’t read various other books, such as Bernard Lewis’ Crisis of Islam, Robin Wright’s Dreams and Shadows, or Thomas P. M. Barnett’s The Pentagon’s New Map. He said he hadn’t read Dexter Filkins’ The Forever War but that he’d “read a lot of the stuff that he’s written for The New Yorker.” Filkins joined The New Yorker in 2011. He said he does not read politician’s memoirs, including Cheney’s or George W. Bush’s. That he was unaware that Bill Clinton had bombed Iraq in 1998 or that Gadhafi had reportedly disarmed in 2003.

                http://thefederalist.com/2014/…..s-problem/

              2. I think everyone would be fine with applying the standards set in the 1964 Civil Rights Act to sexual orientation.

                1. You would be wrong

                2. @Tony…the “everyone” you hang out with seems to be exceptionally unrepresentative of actual society.

        2. “I’m saying government should only allow religion to serve as an excuse to ignore law sparingly.”

          I seem to recall A1prohibits the making of *ANY* law respecting an establishment of religion, or impeding the free exercise of religion, not laws that don’t offend slime-balls.

          1. What could possibly be your point?

            1. Tony|7.10.14 @ 11:45AM|#
              “What could possibly be your point?”

              That you’re an egotistical slimeball with reading comprehension issues.

    2. We shouldn’t make it a law that hiring practices are deserving of government endorsement or prosecution, full stop.

  5. Is this the equivalent of Progs flopping in the penalty box because they’re so mad about Hobby Lobby, that they’re going to throw all their toys out the window and scream ‘MOM!! SHE HIT MEE!!!”!

    1. It’ll just make more private companies ditch providing health insurance and shift those employees to government exchanges, which is what the progtards want. So, win-win.

    2. Is this the equivalent of Progs flopping in the penalty box because they’re so mad about Hobby Lobby, that they’re going to throw all their toys out the window and scream ‘MOM!! SHE HIT MEE!!!”!

      Do you use a penalty box rather than a time-out chair? Or is this a mixed soccer/child-rearing metaphor?

  6. “…they’ve always been really more about fighting employment discrimination.”

    Is it just me or is Reason’s literacy going downhill lately?

    Not to be *that* guy, but they really need to tighten up their editing. Their fact-checking of late, IMO, has also left something to be desired (e.g. Ed K’s stories about police abuse).

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