Toomey ENDA Amendment Part of Long-Term Strategy to Use Religion as Tool to Discriminate

From RH Reality Check:

by Sharon Levin, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC)
November 7, 2013

UPDATE, November 7, 2:27 p.m.: The Senate approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with a 64-32 vote. The ENDA will now move on to the House.

Readers of RH Reality Check are all too familiar with efforts to let bosses impose their religious beliefs on their employees by making their birth control decisions for them. On Thursday, the Senate actually voted on a provision that would have allowed bosses to use religion to discriminate against their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees. Although the amendment was soundly defeated (43 -55), the fact that the Senate actually took a vote on this shows how widespread these efforts are.

That’s right—more efforts to use religion as an excuse to discriminate.

This is what happened today: The Senate passed S 815, the most recent version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would bar employment discrimination against LGBT workers. Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) offered an amendment that would have weakened its protections by broadening ENDA’s current religious exemption—which already provides less protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation than discrimination on the basis of race or sex or national origin.

The Toomey amendment would have gone even further, using ambiguous and undefined language that could allow even private, for-profit employers to discriminate against their LGBT employees. It could even allow them to discriminate based on any reason or bias, not just on religious beliefs. The Toomey amendment was just another step in a long-term strategy to normalize using religion as a tool to discriminate in a variety of arenas.

In recent years, there has been a sustained, multi-pronged effort to use religion to discriminate against both LGBT individuals and women. We have seen it repeatedly in the reproductive health-care context. More than 80 federal cases have been filed by bosses challenging the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that health insurance plans cover contraceptives with no cost-sharing. Just last month, the House of Representatives used the issue of letting bosses refuse to cover birth control as a bargaining chip in the negotiations over shutting down the government.

But these efforts go beyond wanting to deny women access to birth control. Private organizations have refused to allow LGBT individuals to adopt or serve as a foster family. Bosses have discriminated against single mothers just for being single mothers. Bosses have discriminated against women for using in vitro fertilization treatment to become pregnant. The Toomey amendment was just another attempt to allow bosses to impose their beliefs on their employees and to discriminate against those who do not share the same beliefs.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Toomey ENDA Amendment Part of Long-Term Strategy to Use Religion as Tool to Discriminate
%d bloggers like this: