Legislating Gender Confusion
Special Report - May 13, 2010
Homosexual advocacy groups continue to pressure Congress to quickly pass a dangerous piece of legislation that would make it a crime for most employers to fire or decline to hire an individual on the basis of his or her sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and could potentially open the door for the redefinition of marriage. The Employment Non-Discrimination (ENDA), which was introduced last year as H.R. 3017 by Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), currently has 202 co-sponsors in the House, including North Carolina members Brad Miller, David Price and Melvin Watt. A similar bill, S. 1584, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and currently has 45 cosponsors. Hearings on ENDA have been held in both the U.S. House and Senate.
ENDA would prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in their hiring or firing policies, putting sexual behavior and gender confusion on equal footing with immutable characteristics such as sex and race under employment nondiscrimination laws. Homosexual activists have been working for years to have “sexual orientation” added as a protected class to federal employment nondiscrimination laws, and recently their efforts have expanded to include “gender identity." H.R. 3017 defines “gender identity” as “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 current version of ENDA includes a religious exemption clause that exempts “a corporation, association, educational institution, or society that is exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964.” However, pro-family groups argue that the exemption does not go far enough, and that ENDA poses a significant threat to religious freedom, such as for Christian business owners whose businesses do not qualify as religious institutions. According to the Family Research Council (FRC), ENDA would violate “employers’ and employees’ Constitutional freedoms of religion, speech, and association.” FRC argues that the religious exemption clauses in the legislation provide “no clear protection for church-related businesses,” and that it is not likely to “survive court challenge.”
In addition to the religious freedom threat posed by ENDA, the measure represents an incremental strategy to not only legitimize sexual and gender confusion but open the door for the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” Laws that include protected status for sexual orientation and/or gender identity have been cited by the courts in states where same-sex “marriage” is currently legal, including Connecticut and Iowa, to justify the redefinition of marriage on the grounds that denying same-sex couples the ability to legally marry is a form of discrimination.
FRC has launched a “Stop ENDA” campaign and is asking citizens to sign a petition to Congress expressing their opposition to ENDA, which can be found here.
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