White House Still Backs ENDA After LGBT Groups Withdraw Support

AP

The White House still supports the Senate-passed Employment Non-Discrimination Act, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Friday, even though several LGBT rights groups have recently withdrawn their support for the bill.

Earnest told reporters at the daily press briefing that the White House was “aware” of the groups disavowing the legislation, which aims to stop employers from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation.

But when pressed on whether that had changed the Obama administration’s position on the bill, Earnest said: “This administration has not changed ours.”

“We’re certainly aware of the ongoing conversations about ENDA,” he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force are some of the most well-known groups to pull their support in recent days. They object to the current bill, they said, because its religious exemption is too broad.

The Human Rights Campaign is one notable group that has not withdrawn its endorsement.

The withdrawals followed a letter sent by religious leaders to President Barack Obama, asking him to carve out a religious exemption in a forthcoming executive order on non-discrimination for federal contractors. They cited the Senate bill and the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision to make their case.

Earnest declined to comment Friday on whether Obama’s executive order would include the requested religious exemption.

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