Groups differ over gay protection bill

Jewish groups differed over legislation that would ban anti-gay employment discrimination in the United States.

The Anti-Defamation League endorsed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in a letter sent Tuesday to members of the U.S. House of Representatives education subcommittee ahead of its hearing on the bill Wednesday.

“We strongly believe that employment decisions should be based on merit, performance and abilities,” the ADL’s Washington office said in the letter, “and that employment decisions such as hiring, firing and promotion and compensation should not be based on an individual’s sexual orientation.”

The Orthodox Union joined Seventh-day Adventist and Roman Catholic umbrella bodies in expressing reservations about the legislation, noting that the current version’s exemption for religious groups appears confined to teachers or clerics, while previous attempts to pass the legislation included a clear and encompassing exemption for such groups.

“In reviewing this revised section, we find that it leaves religious institutions with insufficient protection from the infringement of their religious liberties,” said a letter sent to the same subcommittee members. The groups noted that they have neither endorsed nor opposed past versions.

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