LGBT Group Pulls ENDA Support After Hobby Lobby Ruling

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force pulled its support for a Senate bill to protect LGBT people in the workplace, citing concerns over the legislation’s broad religious exemption following the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, the Washington Post reported.

The group fears that the exemption in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as it is now could be used by companies to object to the law the same way Hobby Lobby successfully objected to parts of the health care law’s contraception mandate.

Basically, the the current bill could still allow companies to fire gay people by simply citing religious beliefs, according to the group’s executive director, Rea Carey.

“If a private company can take its own religious beliefs and say you can’t have access to certain health-care, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to an interpretation that a private company could have religious beliefs that LGBT people are not equal or somehow go against their beliefs and therefore fire them,” Carey told the Post. “We disagree with that trend. The implications ofHobby Lobby are becoming clear.”

The Senate passed ENDA last November, but the bill stalled in the House, as Republicans didn’t believe the religious exemption was broad enough.

Carey told the Post that the Task Force will also push President Obama not to include a broad religious exemption in his executive order to ban discrimination against LGBT people by federal contractors.

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