Employment discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation and gender identity
Support, opposition, and inactivity on the ENDA bill
(2009 to now)
The ENDA bills were introduced to the House on
2009-JUN-24, and to the Senate on 2009-AUG-07.
Both are referred to as "inclusive" bills because they prevent discrimination
on the basis of gender identity as well as sexual orientation.
Thus, the bills would cover every American in two ways -- prohibiting discrimination both:
- On the basis of their sexual orientation, whether they are heterosexual, bisexual
or homosexual, and
- On the basis of their gender identity, whether they be cis-gendered or transgender. The
vast majority of adults are cis-gendered; their perceived gender and genetic
genders match. A minority is transgender: their perceived and genetic
genders do not match. Sometime the latter describe themselves as having a
female mind in a male body, or vice-versa.
The basic beliefs among individuals and groups supporting and opposing ENDA differ greatly:
Support for ENDA comes primarily from LGBT-positive groups, civil rights groups, liberal faith groups, and their members. Most believe that:
- Sexual orientation and gender identity are fixed (or essentially fixed) and almost always beyond the control of the individual.
- Everyone knows at the very depths of their being what their gender is. However, transgender persons and transsexuals experience a conflict between the gender that they know they are and the gender with which they were identified at birth.
- A transgender person or transsexual should be identified as being of the gender that they know they are. So a person identified as a male at birth who has transitioned to a woman, who looks like a woman, and acts like a woman, is referred to as a woman.
- Discrimination against persons with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity is a major evil.
- In the case of a conflict between an employer's religious freedom to discriminate and an employees' rights to be treated fairly and not be discriminated against, the employee should win, and retain their job securely.
- transgender persons and transsexuals are quite certain what their gender is; however it is different from the gender with which they were identified at birth.
Opposition to ENDA comes primarily from conservative religious groups. Most believe that:
- Sexual orientation and gender identity are chosen and changeable.
- transgender individuals and transsexuals have an intense hatred of their genetic sex.
- A transgender person or transsexual should be identified as being of the gender with which they were identified at birth. So a person identified as male at birth who has transitioned to a woman, who looks like a woman, and acts like a woman is referred to as a man.
- A minority sexual orientation or gender identity is, by themselves, a major evil.
- In the case of a conflict between an employer's religious freedom to discriminate and an employees' rights to be treated fairly and not be discriminated against, the employer should win. She or he should be free to fire any employee who acts in what they consider to be an immoral way when away from work. Religious freedom includes the freedom to discriminate against others.
- transgender persons and transsexuals are simply confused about what their gender really is.
A typical example of a supporting group: Human Rights Campaign (HRC):
President Joe Solmonese, of HRC, a LGBT-positive
"The introduction of an inclusive employment non-discrimination bill in the
U.S. Senate is an important and historic step in ending discrimination based
on sexual orientation and gender identity. No American, and that includes LGBT
Americans, should have to worry about their livelihood being taken away from
them simply for being who they are. The overwhelming majority of the
American people are in favor of this legislation and now is the time for our
community to visit their representatives in Congress to let them know we need
this passed into law."
Meghan Stabler, a HRC Business Council member said:
"Today is a historic day; the first time that an Inclusive ENDA (covering
Sexual Orientation AND Gender Identity) has been introduced into the Senate
chamber. I know that all of us in the Transgender community applaud the Senate
sponsors for taking the lead to provide workplace discrimination protections
for all. However, this is only the
first step and now we must continue our focus on education and telling
of our personal stories to every legislator in the hopes of passing this bill
to move it to the President's desk for signature."
Typical examples of opposing groups:
- OneNewsNow is a fundamentalist Christian news
source. Robert Knight wrote an article on ENDA, He:
- Described the ENDA bill as the "gay quota bill," even though no
quota system is covered by the bill.
- Describes an ideal political system as a theocracy -- one
integrating religion and state -- rather than separating
church and state."
- Describes feelings of sexual attraction, which normally define the three sexual
orientations, as changeable -- like religion which is another protected class.
- Described homophobia and transphobia -- discrimination against persons on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity -- as traditional Christian values.
- Described sexual behavior by sexual minorities to be
intrinsically sinful, no matter what the nature of their relationship might be.
"ENDA is profoundly dangerous. It turns private sin into a
public right and brings the force of government against morality itself. Any
such law is a violation of our unalienable rights as proclaimed in the
Declaration of Independence. To put it more simply, a statute that directly
contradicts [the Judeo-Christian] God's moral law is illegitimate. Laws embody
and reflect morality, or they are not laws. They are tyranny. That's why
so-called same-sex "marriage" laws are absurd and
treacherous. Forcing citizens to accept a counterfeit as the real thing is an
act of despotism."
"ENDA adds not only 'sexual orientation' but 'gender identity' to federal
workplace anti-discrimination law. Thus, it takes an ax to the idea that
sexual behavior has a natural normalcy or any relation to morality. It falsely
equates a changeable condition (sexual desire) with race and ethnicity. Worse,
it turns traditional values into a form of bigotry punishable under the law.
"The Left has long been at war against sexual morals for good reason. People
conditioned to think as short-term opportunists instead of as members of the
family tree are easy to manipulate. Just give them the false promise of a
painless future free from individual responsibility."
- The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) is another fundamentalist Christian information source. Some years ago, this groups assembled a list of over 30 terms relating to:
- Sexual attraction (person's sexual orientation, whether heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual),
- Gender identity (transgender and cisgendered persons) and
- Paraphilias (psychosexual disorders "... marked by sexual urges, fantasies, and behavior involving objects, suffering or humiliation, or children or other nonconsenting partners." 3 Some paraphilias are:
- Apotemnophilia: sexual arousal associated with the stump(s) of an amputee;
- Bestiality: engaging in sexual activity with animals;
- Coprophilia: sexual arousal associated with feces;
- Exhibitionism: the act of exposing one's genitals to an unwilling observer to obtain sexual gratification;
Curiously, they created their own unique definition of "sexual orientation" to include the three sexual orientations that everyone else uses, the two gender identities, and dozens of paraphilias -- most of which are criminal activities. More details.
The TVC discussed the ENDA bill in an essay posted on their web site on 2009-SEP-22:
"... the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) bill ... will be a nightmare for business owners in general and a denial of First Amendment rights for Christian business owners."
"ENDA is designed to get homosexuals, bisexuals, cross-dressers, and transsexuals added to the list of federally-protected minorities. If this is accomplished, the LGBT agenda will be imposed on businesses, local, state and federal governments, including public schools, Christian day care centers and camps, plus many other Christian entities, including religious broadcasters, etc. It will affect any business with more than 15 employees. ..."
"Christian-owned businesses will have to accommodate gay, lesbian, bisexual and even transgender individuals (individuals with a Gender Identity Disorder) who believe they are the opposite sex. ..."
"ENDA includes a weak religious exemption in Section 6. It does not protect Christian businesses or Christian camps, religious broadcasters and other religious entities! An independent Christian camp with 15 or more employees would be covered by ENDA. This camp would be in violation of the law for not hiring homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals or cross-dressers. ..."
LGBT activists are admitting that they are willing to violate First Amendment freedoms to impose their agenda on Americans. They have claimed on several LGBT web sites that “Deeply held beliefs are no excuse for discrimination of any stripe.” In other words, it doesn’t matter what the First Amendment says about religious freedom – the LGBT political agenda trumps the U.S. Constitution.
"What is it that the LGBT community wants? Just take a look at the previous versions of ENDA. That will explain their end goal. The LGBT community wants to use ENDA to force churches, Boy Scouts, Christian schools, Armed Services, religious broadcasters, and all aspects of American culture to comply with their demands for affirmation and forced acceptance."
"They will want quotas, training programs, shared shower and dressing facilities, gay marriage, married couple benefits, data collection to ensure compliance with their demands, jail time for non-compliance, and attorney fees for lawsuits."
"What LGBT activists don’t get with this version of ENDA, they’ll get next year in a new law or a revision of ENDA. It’s all part of their incrementalism strategy to impose their agenda on all Americans." 6
Update as of 2013-APR:
With Republicans controlling the House and Democrats controlling the Senate, essentially all potential legislation with moral, ethical, or religious content is stalled in Congress. Whatever Democrats believe is important, Republicans feel is important to resist -- and vice versa. ENDA is one of these bills that is making no progress for the foreseeable future.
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told Reuters in an interview:
"We want to continue to advocate for legislation. We think that that's the most robust way to accomplish what we want to accomplish. ... ENDA is a priority. Right now the votes aren't there, but that doesn't mean they won't be." 7
It is perhaps ironic that in the early years of the 21st century, the major emphasis on equality issues for the LGBT community was committed to eliminating employment discrimination. At the time, the LGBT leadership actively discouraged activity to bring about marriage equality by legalizing same-sex marriage. Now, almost a decade later, same-sex marriage is making major strides. The District of Columbia and nine states have legalized same-sex marriage and more state Legislatures are considering bills to do so. Meanwhile, a federal act to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is essentially dead in the water.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Michael Cole, "Inclusive ENDA introduced in Senate for first time," Human
Rights Campaign, 2009-AUG-05, at:
- Robert Knight, "The undeclared war to ENDA our liberty," One News Now, 2009-AUG-13, at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/
- "Paraphilia," The Free Dictionary, at: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/
- Rev. Louis Sheldon and Andrea Lafferty, "ENDA would normalize the Dirty 30," Traditional Values Coalition, 2010-APR-08, at: http://www.traditionalvalues.org/
- "What is a 'Sexual Orientation'?" Traditional Values Coalition, undated, at: http://www.traditionalvalues.org This is a PDF file.
- "Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA): Threatens Christians & Business Owners," The Traditional Values Coalition, 2009-SEP-22, at: http://www.traditionalvalues.org/
- "After Court, Gay Rights Spotlight Shifts Back to Obama," Newsmax, 2013-APR-14, at: http://www.newsmax.com/
Copyright © 2009 & 2013 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2009-AUG-07
Latest update: 2013-APR-15
Author: B.A. Robinson