Catholic World News

US Senate passes ENDA

November 08, 2013

In a 64-32 vote, the United States Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA), which would ban workplace discrimination against homosexuals and transgendered persons.

In a joint letter, three committee chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had urged senators to oppose the measure. They explained:

ENDA does not include an exemption for a “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ), for those cases where it is neither unjust nor inappropriate to consider an applicant’s sexual inclinations. This omission also elevates “sexual orientation” discrimination within Title VII to the same and, until now unique, level as race discrimination (which allows no BFOQ), and above religion, sex, and national origin discrimination (which do).

ENDA’s vague definition of “sexual orientation” would encompass sexual conduct outside of marriage, thus legally affirming and specially protecting that conduct.

Based on experience in state courts, it is likely that ENDA would be invoked by federal courts to support the claim that, as a matter of federal constitutional right, marriage must be redefined to include two persons of the same sex.

ENDA’s definition of “gender identity” lends force of law to a tendency to view “gender” as nothing more than a social construct or psychosocial reality, which a person may choose at variance from his or her biological sex. This provision also fails to account for the privacy interests of others, particularly in workplace contexts where they may reasonably expect only members of the same sex to be present.

ENDA could be used to punish as discrimination what many religions – including the Catholic religion – teach, particularly moral teaching about same-sex sexual conduct. Moreover, the bill’s religious freedom protection, which is derived from Title VII, covers only a subset of religious employers, and as a result of recent litigation, is uncertain in scope. Recent experience also shows that even exempted employers may face government retaliation for relying on such exemptions.

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  • Posted by: msorensen71798 - Nov. 11, 2013 12:35 AM ET USA

    fwhermann3492: Although it seems logical to conclude that "transgendered" refers to those who have had surgery to change their sex, that is not what the gay community means by that word. They mean that one's physical sex does not match their gender identity. IOWs: that guy in the lady's bathroom is allowed to be there, because he thinks he's a woman. Among the many reasons I oppose this nonsense is the simple fact that I can't figure out which pronouns to use.

  • Posted by: fwhermann3492 - Nov. 09, 2013 4:55 PM ET USA

    After urging our so-called conservative Republican senator here in Ohio not to support it, I received an e-mail from his office with the following quote: "I voted for ENDA because I support the basic premise of this legislation: people should be judged by their experience, their qualifications, and their job performance, and not by their sexual orientation." So now the government can force you to hire workers who have had sex-change operations. (Yes, the bill includes the term "transgendered.")

  • Posted by: FredC - Nov. 08, 2013 8:53 PM ET USA

    Clearly the bishops have no impact. They need to energize the laity, who have greater expertise in government affairs. We laity could use the help of some excommunications of Catholics who are persecuting the Church.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Nov. 08, 2013 7:28 PM ET USA

    The ultimate objective is the destruction of the Catholic Church. Their patron saint is Voltaire. Fortunately, the House will not pass this garbage. But if something serious does not happen to restore sanity, it will eventually pass and we will be persecuted.

  • Posted by: Defender - Nov. 08, 2013 6:28 PM ET USA

    If ever there was an example of a lack of integrity and honesty in government, this would be it. Each person voting for it, should be targeted to lose their next election. This is also a prime reason why term limits are necessary for Congress and all federal courts, including, and especially, the SCOTUS.

  • Posted by: Leferink557202 - Nov. 08, 2013 11:16 AM ET USA

    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle...