Friday, November 1, 2013

FRC says: Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA): A threat to freedom of conscience and religion

As reported by the Family Research Council

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would prohibit employers from making employment decisions on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It is misleadingly labeled as a logical extension of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. While the Civil Rights Act was enacted primarily to protect the rights of racial minorities, ENDA is aimed at providing special protections for "sexual orientation" (which includes voluntary homosexual conduct) and "gender identity" (referring not to one's biological sex, but to "the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual's designated sex at birth").
The "gender identity" provision would protect anyone who is "transgendered," a broad umbrella term that includes transsexuals (people who have had sex-change surgery), anyone who has changed or is changing their public "gender identity" (regardless of whether they have had surgery or hormone treatments), transvestites (people who dress as the opposite sex on an occasional basis for emotional or sexual gratification), and drag queens and drag kings (people who dress as the opposite sex for the purpose of entertaining others).

Among other problems with ENDA, as reported by the Family Research Council:
“Sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are unlike most other characteristics protected in civil rights laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination based on “race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.” The first four of these are included largely because they are inborn, involuntary and immutable. (Religion, while voluntary, is explicitly protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.) While sexual attractions may be involuntary, neither sexual conduct nor transgender behavior meets any of these criteria.

ENDA’s “gender identity” provisions would undermine the ability of employers to impose reasonable dress and grooming standards. The bill requires that such standards be consistent with the employee’s chosen and variable “gender identity.” This effectively forbids employers from using the most fundamental standard of all—that people be dressed and groomed in a way that is culturally appropriate for their biological sex.
ENDA’s “gender identity” provisions would violate the privacy of others. 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 would mandate the employment of homosexual, bisexual, and “transgendered” individuals in inappropriate occupations. For example, under ENDA, employers in the area of education and childcare would be denied the right to refuse to hire homosexuals or transgendered individuals, even if they consider such persons to be inappropriate role models for children and young people.
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.
ENDA would pave the way for further redefinition of marriage. State courts which have redefined “marriage” to include homosexual couples in Massachusetts, California, Iowa, and Connecticut cited the existence of “non-discrimination” laws like ENDA at the state level as establishing a principle regarding the legal irrelevance of “sexual orientation,” which they have then applied to the institution of marriage.7 Passage of ENDA at the national level could give fuel for a similar decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, forcing the redefinition of marriage in every state in the union, at some time in the future.

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