2Center or American Progress | The Freedom to Work, the Freedom to Worship
Poliically, he bill’s religious exempion is needed o advance ENDA and ulimaely secureemploymen proecions or gay and ransgender Americans. Tis brie examines hisexempion in more deail and compares i o religious exempions ound in he naion’smajor employmen nondiscriminaion law, ile VII o he Civil Righs Ac o 1964.
Religious exemptions under Title VII
Beore we discuss he religious exempions in ENDA specically, i is rs imporan oundersand how religious exempions work under ile VII o he Civil Righs Ac o 1964, upon which ENDA is based.
ile VII prohibis employers rom discriminaing on he basis o race, color, religion,sex, or naional origin.
Addiionally, i includes a criical exempion ha allows religiouseniies o make employmen decisions—such as hiring, promoing, and ring—basedon an individual’s religion. Specically, Secion 702(a) o ile VII saes:
Tis subchapter shall not apply to … a religious corporation, association, educationalinstitution, or society with respect to the employment o individuals o a particular reli- gion to perorm work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association,education institution, or society o its activities.
Secion 703(e)(2) o ile VII similarly reieraes ha religiously run or religiously owned schools may also ake an individual’s religion ino accoun when making hiringor ring decisions.In oher words, alhough ile VII does no exemp religious eniies rom discrimina-ion based on race, color, sex, or naional origin, i does carve ou an exempion haallows hose eniies o discriminae on he basis o religion. A Luheran elemenary school, or example, may re a eacher or being a Mormon. Bu i may no re a eacheror being Asian American or or being a woman.In 1987
he Supreme Cour armed ha ile VII’s religious exempion allows aih- based organizaions o discriminae on he basis o someone’s religion, even whenhe employee’s work is secular in naure. Te Cour ruled in
Bishop v. Amos
ha aMormon Church could require is janior o pracice Mormonism and could ermi-nae his employmen i he reused.