Washington D.C., Nov 5, 2013 / 04:52 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A bill to prohibit workplace discrimination against homosexual and transgender persons poses serious threats to religious freedom and undermines the biological basis of gender, say its critics as it heads to a crucial Senate vote.
“All Americans should oppose unjust discrimination, but ENDA does not advance that goal. In fact, it moves us in the wrong direction,” said scholar and author Ryan T. Anderson.
He told CNA on Nov. 5 that the proposed law “creates new, subjective protected classes that would expose employers to unimaginable liability.”
“No doubt these are difficult and delicate issues, and that is why they are best left to those closest to the decision – not a one-size-fits-all rule from Washington.”
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and the employee’s stated gender identity by all larger non-religious, civilian employers.
Religious organizations, non-profit membership-only clubs, and employers with fewer than 15 employees would be exempt from the legislation.
The bill has been introduced in every congressional session since 1994, except for the 109th session from 2005-2007, but has never been passed. President Barack Obama has voiced his support for both the 2011 and 2013 versions of the bill.
On Nov. 5, the Senate voted for cloture on the bill, ending any potential for a filibuster, and ensuring that the legislation will come to a vote in the chamber in the coming days.
Supporters of the bill note that individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender have faced discrimination in the workplace and are hired at a lower rate than persons who do not openly state their sexual identity.
Opponents, however, argue that the legislation goes further than addressing discrimination, and creates new concerns for religious freedom and the understanding of sexuality within society.
In an Oct. 31 letter to Congress, three leading U.S. bishop explained that while they welcome efforts “to end all forms of unjust discrimination, including against those who experience same sex attraction,” they ultimately cannot support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because it “does not justly advance the dignity of all workers and authentic non-discrimination.”
The letter was signed by Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who leads the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who heads the Religious (Read More)