We have written recently about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which — despite its name — is not so much about preventing discrimination as it is injecting sexual expression into the workplace and workplace decisions.
The Heritage Foundation has written a fact sheet outlining ENDA and the problems it would create. A few of those problems include:
- ENDA defines “gender identity” as “the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms … of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.” In other words, it creates special rights for transgendered individuals—males who dress and act as females, and females who dress and act as males—and forbids employers from considering the consequences of such behavior at the workplace.
- ENDA tramples fundamental civil liberties and unnecessarily impinges on citizens’ right to run their businesses the way they choose. Individuals should be free to form associations and contracts according to their own beliefs and should not be coerced into accepting the federal government’s set of values.
- ENDA would further weaken the marriage culture and the ability of civil society to affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human. ENDA would treat these moral convictions as if they were bigotry.
Language was injected into the bill attempting to exempt religious organizations, but similar exemptions have proven weak in the past, and there is no reason to think such an exemption would be adequate here. Family Research Council has written extensively about how ENDA would negatively affect religious individuals and religious organizations.
ENDA should be opposed by anyone who believes in freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of conscience and religion, and a free market economy…Because transgender status is not dependent on having “sex-change surgery,” ENDA would allow some biological males (who claim to be female) to appear nude before females (and vice versa) in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers…ENDA’s “religious exemption” is inadequate to protect people of faith. ENDA contains an exemption for certain “religious organizations,” such as houses of worship or religious schools. However, the exemption fails to protect individual Christians, Jews, Muslims and others who have objections to certain sexual behaviors from making employment decisions consistent with their faith. In fact, it is questionable whether any profit-making corporations would qualify for the exemption, meaning that Christian bookstores, religious publishing houses, and religious television and radio stations could all be forced to compromise their principles in mandated hiring practices.
We’ve said it all along: ENDA is yet another example of legislation running roughshod over religious liberty. It is vaguely-written and will only be clarified through expensive and time-consuming litigation in our courts.
ENDA could come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate as early as this week. Senators Pryor and Boozman need to hear from you. Please contact Senators Pryor and Boozman today, and ask them each to oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 815).