From The New York Times‘ coverage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act:
The Democrats also carved out a blanket exemption for religious groups, drawing the ire of civil liberties advocates who argued that church-run hospitals, for instance, should not be permitted to discriminate against gay employees. The civil liberties groups wanted a narrow exemption for religious employers.
No, actual “civil liberties” groups would want the whole thing scrapped as a burden on freedom of association, because “civil liberties” are immunities from government imposition (like being compelled to hire persons of a certain description). The phrase they’re looking for is “civil rights.” Sure, it’s not unusual for a group to brand itself as a defender of something it opposes—the astroturf shill group for the sludge industry calling itself Citizens for Clean Water and so on—but that doesn’t mean reporters have to play along with the labeling.
Update: (1) That last sentence was meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek; I’m not suggesting this is any sort of deliberate con or whatever. (2) I’m making a strictly semantic point here that doesn’t turn on accepting any particular theory of rights—a libertarian one, for instance. Traditionally, though the lines get blurred frequently, a “civil liberty” has meant a freedom from government compulsion or intrusion, while “civil rights” include broader privileges that may be invoked against private actors, such as the right not to be excluded from certain facilities on account of race or other factors. How you weigh the civil liberty in this case (not to hire people whose sexual practices you disapprove of) against the civil right (not to have your sexual orientation factor into your employment prospects) is another question. I’m inclined to say people should have the expressive freedom to hire according to their own principles, even when I think those principles are stupid and bigoted, but you don’t need to agree on that point to accept the linguistic distinction.