After the LGBT coalition supporting the current version of ENDA all but collapsed overnight due to the measure's unprecedented religious exemptions, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin wrote an op-ed for BuzzFeed this afternoon explaining his organization's position.
It's titled "Why HRC Supports a Comprehensive Civil Rights Bill," and an excerpt is below:
"The Human Rights Campaign supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for a very simple reason. It will guarantee millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all 50 states explicit, reliable protections from discrimination in the workplace. We call on our allies in Congress to improve this bill's overly broad religious exemption. A strong ENDA is worth fighting for because we cannot ignore the urgent need of countless LGBT people who do not have the luxury of waiting for these protections.
"All of us in the LGBT movement knew that passing ENDA wasn't going to be easy in the 113th Congress. In fact, we knew it would require the biggest legislative campaign in the history of this movement. We all knew the bill wouldn't be perfect, because legislating always involves compromises. But we also knew that there were two red lines we would not cross. The bill had to be inclusive of the entire LGBT community, and it had to ensure that private employers could never cite a religious reason to fire or refuse to hire an employee.
"But regardless of whether or not ENDA passes in this session of Congress, it is time for the LGBT movement to throw its weight behind a fully comprehensive LGBT civil rights bill. A bill that, at long last, would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all core civil rights categories -- including housing, public accommodations, credit, education and, if ENDA fails to pass, in employment. This is a visionary idea that Congresswoman Bella Abzug brought to Congress in 1974. Its time has come...
"We cannot and will not ignore the imperative of this moment. As long as this Congress is in session, we will fight for ENDA -- with a narrowed religious exemption -- because these workplace protections will change millions of lives for the better. But this movement has a responsibility to also chart a course for the future."