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!!!!!!!! Search error!  If the URL ends something like .htm/  or .htm# delete the character(s) after .htm and hit return.

Ending employment discrimination
based on sexual orientation

Opposition & misinformation about the
Employment Non-Discrimination Act (2007)

Sponsored link.

Review of the federal ENDA (2007):

This version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced into the House as H.R. 2015 on 2007-APR-24. It was intended to protect employees against workplace discrimination based on their gender identity as well as their sexual orientation. The bill would make it illegal to refuse to hire, to fire, or to refuse to promote an employee solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill would not apply to the military, to religious organizations, or to companies with fewer than 15 employees. It does not require employers to provide domestic partner benefits. 1 More details, including definitions of sexual orientation and gender identity.

During 2007-OCT, the protection for employees based on gender identity was removed from the bill.

Opposition to ENDA:

bulletThe Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) is committing a great deal of effort to defeat this bill. On 2007-SEP-09, Rev. Lou Sheldon and Andrea Lafferty of the TVC returned from a hearing on ENDA and posted a letter to its supporters. 2 They made some interesting points:
 
bullet"America will never be the same if this bill becomes law. Our grandchildren and our great grandchildren will wonder why more people weren't involved against this." The first sentence is certainly true. If the bill became law, tens of millions of heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals would acquire job security for the first time. As Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) has said:

"The single most important thing [lesbian, gay and bisexual] people can do is to come out, and one of the obstacles to coming out is the fear that you're gonna lose your job."

If this bill were signed into law, many individuals will probably feel sufficiently secure to come out of the closet and fight for greater equality.
 

bullet"... this legislation will force private sector employers across America to hire cross-dressers, transgenders, she-males, and many other people with bizarre sexual practices. The TVC does not mention that the law does not apply to small businesses -- those with fewer than 15 employees. In contrast to the question raised by TVC, one might ask should employers have the right to fire or refuse to hire persons on the grounds of their sexual orientation or identity, or their sexual activities done off-site?
 
bullet"This bill brings sexual behavior into the workplace or be sued for discrimination." There is nothing in the bill that prohibits employers from firing employees who engage in sexual behavior on company time or in the company's premises.
 
bulletTranssexuals "... must either dress in opposite sex clothing or engage in one of the worst forms of self-hatred -- damaging their bodies by having them mutilated by surgical procedures." Many transsexuals do undergo surgical procedures to have their bodies correspond to their perceived gender. But they seek these operations based on a desire to harmonize their perceived gender and their appearance. Their motivation is hope not hatred. When part of an intense therapy process almost all are successful.
 
bulletThe " ... 'religious exemption" for denominations or organizations operated by denominations ..." would not protect for-profit Christian businesses such as a Bible or book publisher." This is true. All for-profit businesses would all be treated alike.
 
bullet"TVC continues to play a key leadership role in fighting the normalization and legalization of bizarre sexual behaviors in the workplace." Again, there is nothing in the bill that prevents an employer from firing people engaged in any sexual behavior while at work -- whether it be by a same-sex or opposite-sex couple.

Misinformation about ENDA

bulletNovel definition of the term "sexual orientation:" Sexual orientation is a term generally used to describe a person's romantic, emotional, and fantasy sexual attraction to another person. The meaning universally used by homosexuals, bisexuals, mental health professional associations, human sexuality researchers, etc. is as follows:
bulletA person attracted only to another person of the same sex is said to have a homosexual orientation and may be called gay (both men and women) or lesbian (if female).
bulletIndividuals attracted only to persons of the other sex are said to have a heterosexual orientation.
bulletSexual orientation falls along a continuum and individuals who are attracted to both men and women are said to be bisexual." 37

The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) has created a unique definition of the term "sexual orientation" that differs greatly from the meaning used by others. They state:

"A person's sexual orientation can include sexual attraction to children, animals, feet, and a whole range of bizarre behaviors that are listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). In fact, there are 30 sexual orientations listed in the DSM." 4,5

This is a definition apparently created by TVC whose purpose may have been to confuse legislation and legislators. Both the ENDA bill, and bills covering hate-crimes offer protection to every American on the basis of their sexual orientation, whether they be heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual. By enlarging the number of orientations to 30 the bills become meaningless.

The first sentence in the quote is in error. The DSM defines three and only three sexual orientations. The American Psychiatric Association describes the three sexual orientations both in their DSM and in their "Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives" web site. 3

What TVC has done is to redefine the DSM's 30 sexual paraphilias as additional sexual orientations. Paraphilias are activities causing sexual arousal in response to sexual objects or situations, including incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, bestiality, masochism, sadism, voyeurism. More info.

bulletFalse information about the scope of the bill: Many religiously and socially conservative groups misrepresent the scope of the bill. Most commonly, they imply that:
bulletEnda is a pro-homosexual bill. In reality, it protects persons of all sexual orientations -- heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual.
 
bulletENDA gives special privileges to homosexuals. In reality, it protects persons of all sexual orientations equally; no one receives special privileges.

Some examples:

bulletCitizenLink, a publication of a fundamentalist Christian group Focus on the Family Action states that the ENDA bill: "... gives homosexuals special rights in the workplace." 6
 
bulletCitizenlink also suggested that the pastor of a church could not exclude a gay person who applied for a job as youth pastor. In reality, ENDA has a religious exemption. 7 The only way that a pastor could be charged under the ENDA law would be if the prime function of his church was non-religious. That provision of the bill gives total protection for those churches who wish to continue to discriminate in employment on the basis of sexual orientation. 8
 
bulletCitizenlink quoted Tom Strohbar, an expert in stockholder interests in Dayton, OH, who said:

"Really, what they should be asking employees is that when they come to work, they don't talk about their personal sexual interests and activities. And if they don't talk about these things, the issue is completely moot. We don't need the Employment Non-Discrimination Act."

He has a point. In many cases, if people don't talk about their sexual orientation, there would be few charges under ENDA. But there will always be people eager to "out" others on the basis of their sexual orientation. Without ENDA, the latter are currently in danger of losing their job. 9
 

bulletAshley Horne, federal policy analyst for Focus on the Family Action, was concerned that the public had little time to respond to the ENDA bill. She said: "ENDA has been fast tracked. Constituents haven't had a chance to weigh in, so we really need to get the word out." In reality, there has been a series of ENDA bills introduced to Congress since 1994. 10
 
bulletAnother fundamentalist Christian group, the Family Research Council, stated that:
bullet"ENDA is aimed at providing heightened protections for a particular sexual behavior-homosexuality. H.R. 2015 is a radical transformation of workplace discrimination law. It would grant special consideration on the basis of 'sexual orientation' or 'gender identity' that would not be extended to other employees in the workplace." 11

Again, ENDA would protect every worker in America equally, no matter what their sexual orientation is: heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual.
 
bulletENDA: "... grants special rights to homosexuals while ignoring those of employers. The federal government should not force private businesses to abandon their moral principles." 12

The key question is whether an employer should be able to take his beliefs and transform them into discriminatory actions. In this case, in excess of 80% of American voters say no.

 

bulletAnother fundamentalist Christian group, Concerned Women for America (CWA), commented:
 
bullet"If passed, the bill would grant special employment rights and protected minority status to individuals who define themselves based upon chosen sexual behaviors ---

Actually, workers would be protected on the basis of their sexual orientation not their behavior.
 
bullet--- and others who, among other things, suffer from clinical self-delusion." 13

CWA appears to be referring to transgender persons and transsexuals here. They experience a conflict between their perceived gender and their genetic gender that cannot be harmonized through therapy, prayer or any other treatment. It is not a matter of being deluded; it has been described as having the brain of one gender in the body of the opposite gender.

In the past, some estimates state that about 50% resolved their conflict through suicide before the age of 30. Recently, gender reassignment surgery has been perfected to the point where transsexuals can have their appearance changed so that they resemble the opposite sex -- some strikingly so.
 
bullet"Essentially, homosexuals, bisexuals and lesbians, by their own admission, share only one attribute on which they base their claim to protected class status: They choose to perform sexual acts with members of the same gender. Behavior alone is not a compelling reason to reward protected, minority, or ethnic class status with all the attendant entitlements." 14

With the exception of religious conservatives, almost everyone -- religious liberals, gays, lesbians, transsexuals, mental health professionals, human sexuality researchers, etc. define sexual orientation in terms of sexual attraction, not sexual behavior. Still again, ENDA would protect all employees no matter what their sexual orientation: heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual.

Also, religion could be considered a protected class based on behavior (baptism, confirmation, going to religious services, praying, funeral service, etc.). If people are given rights because of their religion, it seems reasonable to give them rights against discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

References used in the above essay:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "H.R. 2015," text as submitted on 2007-APR-24, at: http://thomas.loc.gov/ Search for employment non-discrimination act or H.R. 2015.
  2. Rev. Lou Sheldon & Andrea Lafferty "Dear Friend of TVC," Traditional Values Coalition, 2007-SEP-05, at: http://www.traditionalvalues.org/
  3. "Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues: What is Sexual Orientation?," American Psychiatric Association, at: http://www.healthyminds.org/
  4. "What is a 'sexual orientation'," Traditional Values Coalition, at: http://www.traditionalvalues.org/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from: 
  5. "Paraphilias," in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, American Psychiatric Association, (2000), Pages 566 to 582.
  6. "New ENDA language still falls short," News release, Citizen Link, 2007-OCT-01.
  7. "H.R. 2015," text as submitted on 2007-APR-24, at: http://thomas.loc.gov/ Search for employment non-discrimination act or H.R. 2015.
  8. Steve Jordahl, "EDA to hit the House," Citizen Link, 2007-SEP-16, at: http://www.citizenlink.org/
  9. Stephen Adans, "ENDA: Workplace is the Wrong Place for Sexual Politics,"  Citizen Link, 2007=SEP-24, at: http://www.citizenlink.org/
  10. "Take Action: Let Your Lawmaker Know You Oppose ENDA," Citizen Link, 2007-SEP-18, at: http://www.citizenlink.org/
  11. "Talking points," Family Research Council, undated, at: http://www.frc.org/
  12. "Recess Homework," Family Research Council, 2007-AUG-13, at: http://www.frcblog.com/
  13. J. Matt Barber, " 'Gay conquest spells the ENDA reason," Concerned Women, 2007-SEP-14, at: http://www.cwfa.org/
  14. "The Employment Non-Discrimination Act," Concerned Women, 1997-NOV-18, at: http://www.cwfa.org/

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Home > "Hot" conflicts > Homosexuality > Employment > here

Copyright © 2007 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2007-OCT-11
Latest update: 2009-AUG-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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