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Michael F. Haverluck

A Senate committee, for the first time in years, is giving serious consideration to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which in spite of its title is intended to provide special “protections” for homosexuals and transgender persons in workplaces across America.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee gave ear this week for the first time to a transgender person testifying at a U.S. Senate hearing in favor of ENDA, which critics say would force employers to surrender their religious conscience rights while giving employees access to restrooms designated for individuals of the opposite sex.

Companies found in violation would risk being shut down and face legal prosecution.

“Today, in the Senate, they are having a hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act … [which] would … give special employment benefits and protections based upon their sexual behavior and orientation,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said Tuesday. “What do you see as the outcome of this? I mean, are you concerned increasingly that this is a way to essentially punish religious freedom in … the business sector?”

Perkins announced that ENDA would prove to be a job-killer for small businesses – with 15 or more employees – that hold to their constitutionally protected religious freedoms.

“It wasn’t too long ago that homosexual activists said they just wanted ‘to get the government out of their bedroom’ … Now we know why: they wanted to put their bedroom in the workplace!” Perkins contested. “Today, for the first time in three years, a Senate committee agreed to hold a hearing on a bill that would create special employment protections for individuals based on their sexual behavior or orientation. At the very least, it will force people out of business. At its worst, it will bully into silence every American who disagrees with homosexual behavior.”

The president of the Washington, D.C.-based organization doesn’t want anyone to overlook the true ramifications of adopting such legislation.

“If that doesn’t frighten you, it should,” Perkins warns. “Under ENDA, the government will put businesses on the defensive – forcing them to explain why they didn’t hire or promote employees who openly identified as gay, lesbian or transgender. Essentially, Congress would be establishing a caste system, where the special protections of homosexuals trump the First [Amendment] Freedoms of any employer.”

Perkins states that there is an underlying agenda behind ENDA – one that goes far beyond the issue of discrimination.

“Although some people defend it as an innocent piece of anti-prejudice legislation, ENDA builds the bridge to every last piece of the same-sex agenda – including marriage,” Perkins insisted before sharing a quote demonstrating the current administrations’ backing of the controversial law. “‘If we can get ENDA enacted and signed into law,’ the president’s head of the Office of Management and Budget said, ‘it is only a matter of time before all the rest happens. It is the keystone that holds up the whole bunch, and so we need to focus our energies and attention there.’”

And what would America be like if ENDA were enacted from coast to coast? Perkins paints a vivid picture.

“With it, the Left can take a hacksaw to every God-given freedom protected by the Constitution – including the ability to speak openly about your beliefs,” the FRC president asserts. “Like the contraception-abortion mandate, it puts employers in the position of deciding between their faith and their jobs. And unlike past versions, this legislation would extend those special protections to transgenders. In other words, businesses and public organizations would have to bend their dress codes and change their bathroom and shower policies to accommodate men who dress like women and vice-versa. Can you imagine walking into your child’s classroom and meeting a teacher dressed in drag?”

To help Americans see the true threat to their freedoms, FRC has put together a documentary titled “ENDA: The End of Religious Freedom in America?” One segment discusses how one Christian ministry was forced to administer “homosexual sensitivity training” to its members.

Key players seeking to push ENDA through were named by Perkins, including Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Bob Casey, D-Pa.; Mark Kirk, R-Ill.; and Susan Collins, R-Maine.

“They’re the driving force behind today’s HELP Committee hearing, which features the first-ever Senate testimony from a transgender witness,” Perkins said. “In a letter to Sen. Reid, demanding this debate, the four senators wrote, ‘Employees should be judged on their skills and abilities in the workplace – not their sexual orientation or gender identity.’ We agree. That’s why these laws, giving them special protections, are unnecessary.”

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver concurs that a seemingly innocent political agenda orchestrated by office holders is being served through the current legislation under debate.

“The implications of ENDA are outrageous and shocking,” Staver said. “With the many pressing issues facing our country, it is astounding that Sen. Harry Reid and the Democrat-controlled Senate would waste their time pressing a radical and destructive ideology. ENDA would highjack every employer to conscript them to join the sexual anarchist agenda so favored by the Obama administration.”

U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, contends that the White House is anything but impartial when it comes to ENDA and its assault on organized religion.

“It continues to be part of this administration’s ongoing war on religion, on particularly Judeo-Christian values,” Gohmert said. “But, of course, this is one that even is extremely contrary to the Muslim religion, as well … It also means that Christian schools will be forced to hire openly homosexual individuals, and it’s kind of tough to teach biblical principles in Romans 1 in a school if you are of the persuasion of being homosexual.”

However, even with Obama’s recent endorsement of same-sex “marriage” and the approximately $3 million he collected at LGBT fundraisers in Los Angeles last week, no lip service was given to ENDA at the two events on June 6.

But the Washington Blade comforts ENDA advocates that the president has not forgotten their plight, even though it is not at the top of his current agenda. After asking former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs if the administration saw value in passing ENDA in one chamber of Congress as a crucial step toward complete passage down the road, the racy D.C. publication got the answer it was looking for.

“Yeah, I think there’s no doubt that whenever you get something done in one [chamber], you’re closer to certainly seeking it come to fruition ─ so, yes, obviously,” Gibbs assured the Blade at the time.

The campaign to pass ENDA has no political boundaries

In fact, Log Cabin Republican Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper recently petitioned Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to back the legislation, hoping he would follow Obama’s “evolution” to support the homosexual agenda.

“By showing support for ENDA and the federal contractor executive order, Romney can counter the president’s ‘bread and circuses’ distraction and turn the conversation about LGBT equality back to the economy,” Cooper argued. “It’s a message that unites Americans, provides real benefits for millions of LGBT people, and plays to Romney’s strengths as a candidate. Romney has a record of supporting these protections, and for practicing nondiscrimination in his own leadership roles, so this step is entirely in line with the governor’s own evolution.”

In a recent LGBT victory this April, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission ruled that “transgender” individuals be given protection from workplace discrimination. And despite the fact that there is currently no federal law that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, the nation’s capital, as well as 16 states, already have such laws in place.

Even though ENDA has been revisited by Congress every year since 1994 without success, advocates insist that they are gaining ground, and pro-family organizations warn that support behind the proposed legislation can quickly spread as it has with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and same-sex “marriage.”

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