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Local Civil Rights Groups Withdrawing Support For Proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case has caused several local civil rights groups to announce this week that they are withdrawing support for a long proposed LGBT anti-discrimination bill.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been long hailed as ground-breaking legislation. If passed, it would finally keep employers from discriminating against workers because of sexual orientation.

Senate Republicans signed onto the bill because of its religious exception, but last month’s Hobby Lobby decision has gay rights advocates on edge. Now that the bill is headed to the House.

“The proposed religious exception would basically give religious organizations a blank check to discriminate against LGBT people,” says Attorney Molly Tack-Hooper.

Tack-Hooper works for the ACLU of Pennsylvania. The ACLU is one of several groups that once lobbied for ENDA that now says it shouldn’t pass in its current form.

“What we want is for the religious exception to be narrower and just track the constitutionally protected right to the free exercise of religion,” says Tack-Hooper

She says it could mean a longer wait for federal LGBT protection, but they’re lobbying for state protection in Pennsylvania.

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