WASHINGTON—Following an historic cloture vote in the United States Senate that all but assures passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the first time in that chamber since the bill was introduced in 1994, Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement:

“Today’s cloture vote is an historic step forward in our nation’s journey toward equality for all people. While the path to eventual passage by both houses remains long and uncertain, it is significant that 61 members of the United States Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, have come together to allow legislation to move forward that will prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.”

“As debate continues this week, I am sadly confident that many of ENDA’s opponents will wrongly claim that it is a threat to religious liberty. They will try to convince you that ‘religious freedom’ means that they have the right to discriminate against LGBT people in the workplace and deny them the same right to work afforded to others—that is neither fair nor right. I find no place in the First Amendment that justifies such discrimination. Let me be perfectly clear: ENDA is not a threat to religious liberty and religion should never be used to discriminate.”

“Even if ENDA never receives a vote in the House of Representatives this Congress, passing the Senate for the first time—with unprecedented bipartisan support, no less—is a monumental step forward.”

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.