Concerns Raised Over Gay vs. Religious Rights

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The vice president of National Religious Broadcasters says congressional legislation protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Americans from job discrimination would have a "chilling effect on religious organizations."

Craig Parshall told a Senate committee that religious exemptions in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act are inadequate.

Democrats on the committee responded that similar state laws have been implemented with no significant problems. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said workplace discrimination against LGBT Americans "is morally wrong and we must end it."

But Parshall testified that the federal legislation would impose an "unconstitutional burden" on religious organizations and would "interfere with their ability to effectively pursue their missions."

Companion legislation in the U.S. House has been referred to committee, but no further action has been taken.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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