John M. Becker

Matt Foreman Comes Out Swinging Against Religious Exemptions

Filed By John M. Becker | July 06, 2014 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day
Tags: anti-discrimination law, ENDA, ENDA executive order, Matt Foreman, nondiscrimination, religious exemption, religious freedom, religious liberty

"Hobby Lobby dramatically escalates the harm that will be caused if President Obama succumbs to growing pressure from religious and anti-gay forces and (with implicit or explicit approval from HRC) puts an ENDA-like religious exemption in the promised Executive Order (EO) to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. While largely under the radar, this is, in fact, a crisis situation.

"Such an exemption would have been bad enough before Hobby Lobby, but the decision makes it even more deadly. The Hobby Lobby majority said the decision shouldn't be read to undermine employment nondiscrimination laws. But if the EO contains the ENDA exemption, there's nothing to stop the reasoning in Hobby Lobby from having full force and effect in justifying anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors - pushing the door even more widely open for discrimination against our people for essentially any reason whatsoever.

"The only acceptable religious exemption is the one long-contained in Title VII. Anything else can spell disaster for years to come, including profoundly weakening the impact of future federal nondiscrimination laws and our hopes to secure meaningful civil rights protections in the 29 states that still lack them.

"There is no moral or political justification for President Obama to cave and endorse LGBT people having less protections from discrimination than other Americans. This issue is not a side show; it is core to our equality."

-- LGBT advocate and movement leader Matt Foreman, former head of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and current senior program director at the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, on the dangers of including an ENDA-style religious exemption in President Obama's forthcoming employment non-disrimination executive orders. Foreman made these on-the-record remarks in an email.

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