Special job guarantees and protections for homosexuals, transgenders and others is “bad public policy,” according to the Family Research Council, because it could open up ministries and people of faith to lawsuits whenever someone feels “aggrieved.”
And an amendment adopted Wednesday by the U.S. Senate with the purposed intent of protecting ministries would fail completely, the organization said.
The issue is before the Senate this week as it considers the “Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” which would install in federal law special job protections and guarantees for homosexuals and transgenders as well as those choosing other alternative sexual lifestyles.
Seven members of the GOP sided with Democrats on Monday to break down the filibuster threshold, and a final vote could come within days.
The bill, however, faces an uphill fight in the U.S. House, where Speaker John Boehner has said he does not support it. That means it might not even get a vote.
After the Senate Wednesday approved an amendment by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., David Christensen, the vice president for government affairs for FRC, said, “The amendment added to ENDA today does virtually nothing to expand the already extremely narrow ‘religious exemption,’ and will do nothing to protect non-profits and businesses that operate from a faith perspective.”
He continued, “Senators may be looking for political cover from this amendment, but ENDA removes the ability of non-profits, para-church ministries, and individual business owners to make their own decisions about appropriate conduct in the workplace. People’s religious freedom rights do not stop at their front door on their way to work, whether they are a business owner or employee. Senators concerned with religious freedom protections should oppose ENDA, as fundamentally bad public policy.”
The FRC has produced a report specifically warning against the attacks that would be encouraged on ministries and church-related services, should the special provisions for homosexuals become law.
It cites a 2004 case brought by a lesbian against the city of Portland, Ore. Loraine Fischer claimed discrimination and a hostile work environment and the city settled for $150,000 – even though Fischer had twice before been suspended for allegations of her own unwanted sexual advances on other female coworkers.
And in 2005 in Bay City, Mich., former deputy police chief Penny Phelps sued seeking damages after she was accused by an officer in the department of stalking. The city paid $170,000.
The FRC report said the Santa Barbara Independent also reported on yet another case:
“The city council voted behind closed doors to settle a long-simmering legal dispute with gay ex-cop Ruben Lino for almost $1 million and a positive job reference, rather than appeal the awards already granted to both Lino and his attorney Janean Acevedo Daniels. A jury awarded Lino $451,000, saying he’d been the victim of retaliation – though not discrimination, as Lino also charged – after he complained to Chief Cam Sanchez about anti-gay remarks made by fellow officers. Daniels was awarded $660,000 in attorney’s fees. Around city hall, Lino’s victory was widely regarded as the result of a weak-minded jury, and City Attorney Steve Wiley argued city hall stood a good chance of prevailing on appeal.”
Reported the FRC, “What can we conclude about the consequences of ‘sexual orientation non-discrimination’ laws, from looking at these cases that have been reported… First, such cases can be very costly to employers – including public employers, who must pay these settlements with taxpayer dollars. But they can be very lucrative for lawyers. In several of the cases settlements were paid despite evident weaknesses in the cases brought. Two of the homosexual plaintiffs had actually themselves been credibly accused of sexual harassing co-workers – yet still presented themselves as the aggrieved parties.”
“It would be unwise for Congress to invite more such suits by adopting the ‘Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” the organization said.
Ominously, FRC warned that nonprofit organizations, para-church ministries and business owners whose faith is a guiding standard for their work are not clearly exempted. Critics have said that could force a church daycare center to hire someone that clearly violates the faith practices of the church.
FRC has explained ENDA would “force religious business owners and workplaces such as Christian bookstores, religious publishing houses, pre-schools and religious television and radio stations to accept as normal any employee who has had a sex-change surgery, any employee who has changed or is ‘transitioning’ 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 or drag kings (people who dress as the opposite sex for the purpose of entertaining others).”
The warning continued: “Making matters worse, ‘perceived gender identity’ status does not require sex-change surgery, so ENDA would allow some biological males (who claim to be female) to enter and even appear nude before females in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. Situations like this have already been reported in several states with ENDA like laws such as Maine, Colorado and California.”
The seven Republicans who backed the Obama administration’s homosexual agenda are Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.
The Daily Beast reported there undoubtedly will be political backlash.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said it will meet resistance in the House.
“The speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.”
Critics warn the plan will force businesses to cater to bizarre behaviors and silence anyone who disagrees with them.
ENDA would forbid employers from firing or refusing to hire anyone because of their sexual orientation or for asserting a different “gender identity.” Supporters say the protections are no different than longstanding bans on employment decisions made on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, religion or disability.
But others contend judging a person based on skin color is vastly different than on sexual behavior.
“There’s a reason why we don’t allow discrimination based on race, which is that it’s a characteristic which is inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous and in the Constitution,” Peter Sprigg, senior fellow in policy studies at the Family Research Council, told WND in a radio interview. “All of those criteria apply to race. None of them applies to the choice to engage in homosexual conduct or in cross-dressing behavior, which is what gender identity deals with.”
Sprigg further asserted that ENDA would result in unwarranted government meddling into the freedom business owners ought to have in selecting their employees.
“The general assumption should be that employers know best what is a relevant qualification for their employees,” he said. “So any expansion of a list of restrictions like this constitutes further federal government intrusion into what normally is a free-market decision. We need to approach the whole issue from that perspective.”
Liberty Counsel, in a statement about ENDA, said it "is an anti-free speech, anti-freedom of religion, and anti-business bill masquerading as a 'civil rights' issue. It is a direct attack on every American's liberties, including those who are foolishly pushing for its passage."