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Barney Frank Sharply Criticizes Gay Rights Groups’ Flip On ENDA

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WASHINGTON — Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) rebuked the gay rights groups opposing a bill that would ban workplace discrimination on the basis on sexual orientation and gender identity, calling their strategy “ridiculous.”

A handful of groups said last month that they no longer back the Senate-passed version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because of its sweeping religious exemption, which would allow religiously affiliated businesses to fire someone for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The provision’s language goes far beyond religious exemptions afforded under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion or national origin.

“There is an element in my community that insists on being the cutting edge, and they are determined never to be for anything that could pass because that means that they are stodgy. I mean this quite literally,” the openly gay former congressman said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “The goalposts have not just been moved, they have been propelled at atomic speed. The arguments are ridiculous.”

Some LGBT groups said the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision was one of the reasons they flipped positions on ENDA. The court ruled that a religious employer could not be required to cover certain types of contraception in their employees’ insurance plans.

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