US: Human Rights Campaign continues to support ENDA despite religious ‘license to discriminate’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Human Rights Campaign continues to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, despite LGBT groups claiming it could lead to a religious ‘license to discriminate’ against gays.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which would ban homophobic discrimination in the workplace – has been stalled by Republicans in the US House of Representatives since last year.

However, following a series of compromises which strengthen religious freedom exemptions, yesterday the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the American Civil Liberties Union both announced their withdrawal of support for the measure.

A statement from the Task Force stated: “We are deeply concerned that ENDA’s broad exemption will be used as a similar license to discriminate across the country.”

Despite the shift, the Human Rights Campaign – which tackled anti-gay discrimination – has maintained support for the bill.

Human Rights Campaign Vice President Fred Sainz said yesterday: “HRC supports ENDA because it will provide essential workplace protections to millions of LGBT people.”

Obama confirmed plans to sign an executive order banning anti-gay workplace discrimination among federal contractors last month, following the stalling of ENDA.

Also last month, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Transgender Law Center, FreedomOhio, Equality New Mexico, Wyoming Equality and the Transgender Education Network of Texas all dropped support of the bill, saying it would give religious people a ‘license to discriminate’.