New York’s attorney general has been accused of “bullying” a private employer to acknowledge a “right” by workers to engage in cross-dressing in a move critics say “takes the bedroom into the workplace.”
According to the New York Daily News, an agreement forced by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will require American Eagle Outfitters to allow men to dress as women and women to dress as men if they wish.
The company confirmed that to avoid “further expense and the distraction of a prolonged argument,” it agreed to the compromise. The new policy will also require the company to train workers in how to choose which pronoun to use – apparently “he” or “she” depending on what the person desires.
“Cross-dressing rights” is one of the issues in the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which was considered several years ago in Congress.
The bill has been resurrected, with plans to start reviewing soon the language in the proposal, which critics already are calling the “Cross-Dressing Protection Act.”
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.
H.R. 3017, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009, or ENDA, would make it unlawful for government agencies or businesses with more than 15 employees to refuse to hire or promote anyone based on “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.”
It’s being promoted by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and others.
The bill makes exceptions for the U.S. military, religious organizations and some businesses with non-profit 501(c) designations, but makes no provisions for business owners’ consciences. A small construction company that wanted to maintain a Christian reputation, for example, could be sued if it refused to hire transvestites.
”I am now confident that we will be getting a vote on ENDA,” bill sponsor Frank told Boston’s Edge not long ago. ”The fact is, there was no chance of getting [Pelosi] to focus on this until health care was done. Health care is now done.”
However, Family Research Council Action already has set up an online effort to generate opposition to the radical change for employers and rights.
A statement released by FRC President Tony Perkins said, “Every American who believes in the right of employers to set dress and grooming standards for their employees should be alarmed by how this attorney general has used bullying tactics and litigation to impose cross-dressing policies on American Eagle Outfitters.
“What’s most alarming is that President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress want to expand these bullying litigation tactics to all 50 states by enacting into federal law a cross-dressing protection act. If Congress approves President Obama’s ENDA bill, employers in every state can expect to experience the same expensive, burdensome litigation that has been pursued,” he said.
“ENDA, what might be more appropriately called ‘The Cross-Dresser Protection Act,’ takes the bedroom into the workplace and unfairly burdens employers to know about their employee’s sexual lives. This major expansion of federal power over the workplace places an unnecessary burden on small businesses and local communities,” Perkins’ statement said.
“Family Research Council and the families we represent are committed to defeating this bill which will trample on the constitutional freedoms of religion and speech of both employers and employees,” he said.
Perkins reported that more than 50,000 people already have joined in the organization’s petition against the “cross-dressing act.”
The Daily News reported a “transgender member of Make the Road New York,” identified as “Joi-Elle White,” was pleased with the agreement and hoped for a domino effect imposing similar requirements on other companies.
But the FRC petition site said such legislation would provide “special protections to a group that is not disadvantaged,” would impose a solution for a situation that is not job discrimination, likely would cause problems for religious employers, violates a number of constitutional provisions and would require the hiring of homosexuals for “inappropriate” occupations.
As WND reported when the bill was put forward three years ago, several groups voiced opposition to ENDA, which empowers the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce its provisions using some of the same powers granted by 1964’s Civil Rights Act.
“This bill would unfairly extend special privileges based upon an individual’s changeable sexual behaviors, rather than focusing on immutable, non-behavior characteristics such as skin color or gender,” Shari Rendall, director of legislation and public policy for Concerned Women for America, said earlier. “Its passage would both overtly discriminate against and muzzle people of faith.
“Former Secretary of State Collin Powell put it well when he said, ‘Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is a convenient but invalid argument,'” Rendall quoted.
“Over the years, the homosexual lobby has done a masterful job of co-opting the language of the genuine civil rights movement in their push for special rights,” explained former CWFA Policy Director Matt Barber, who now serves with Liberty Counsel. “This bill represents the goose that laid the golden egg for homosexual activist attorneys.
“This bill would force Christian, Jewish or Muslim business owners to hire people who openly choose to engage in homosexual or cross-dressing behaviors,” said Barber, “despite a sincerely held religious belief that those behaviors are dangerous, sinful and not in keeping with basic morality.
“ENDA would essentially force employers to check their First Amendment protected rights to freedom of religion, speech and association at the workplace door,” he said.