Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced this week that he intends to introduce legislation next year that will roll the controversial Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) into a broader bill creating special LGBT protections in a wide range of spheres. Notably, he signaled that he would like to further narrow any religious protections. "I think the religious exemption should track much more narrowly… should track identically the provisions we currently have for race,” he said.
Earlier this year, House Democrats moved to disintegrate already weak provisions for religious organizations that were included in the version of ENDA approved by the Senate last autumn. They would, in fact, brazenly amend the bill to read, “Such organizations are not exempt from the requirements of this Act…” In response to that effort, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, responded, “I am alarmed by this display of intolerance for constitutional religious liberty rights in the public square.”
NRB will be carefully watching Senator Merkley’s new legislation next year.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: December 12, 2014