It's the ENDA the Line for Contractors
After 30 days of nonstop, in-your-face celebration, the White House is capping off “gay pride” month with its biggest gift yet. Next Monday, the pot of gold at the end of this President’s rainbow is an executive order giving special workplace benefits to the sexually confused. For the far-Left, it caps off a long fight to get the administration to do what Congress has not: order employers to put aside their profits, principles, and practices in the name of political correctness.
The President’s order implementing part of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) -- once considered “too radical” even for his own party -- forces government contractors and subcontractors to hire gays, lesbians, transvestites, and transsexuals -- regardless of their legally protected morals. This level of coercion is nothing less than viewpoint blackmail -- and from the federal government no less!
Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden said “gay rights” should be everyone’s priority, “I don’t care what your culture is.” Apparently, that includes the business culture, whose companies will either be excluded from federal contracts because of their beliefs or have to violate their policies to get them. At the very least, it may force people who depend on government work out of business. At its worst, it will bully into silence every contractor and subcontractor who disagrees with homosexual behavior.
And unfortunately, this doesn’t just affect Fortune 500 companies but the government’s small business partners, who may have very legitimate reasons for not allowing someone to cross-dress on the job. “The gender identity provisions,” FRC’s Peter Sprigg warned in an op-ed for CNN, “undermine the right of employers to impose reasonable dress and grooming standards, by forbidding employers to use the most fundamental standard of all -- that people be dressed in a way [that’s] appropriate for their biological sex!” Today, I reiterated the longstanding concerns FRC has with the legislation and the potential executive order with President Obama.
In one of the greatest ironies, the Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on religious liberty Monday -- the same day the President plans on issuing his order steamrolling businesses with moral beliefs. Like the HHS mandate, the planned executive order puts employers in the position of deciding between their faith and their jobs. And its effects, which we won’t know until the language is released, could even affect social service contracts like Catholic Charities or overseas groups with USAID contracts.
Life hasn’t exactly been rosy for the business community under this administration. First, the President’s policies kept the economy in the tank. Then he strangled the financial and energy sectors by passing a health care law that’s trampling employers’ freedom and crushing their bottom lines. Now, as if those burdens weren’t enough, the President’s party wants to tell companies how they should run their business, who they should hire, and what they can and can’t believe.
Obviously, the White House didn’t learn much from the lesson on lawlessness it got yesterday from the Supreme Court -- because this decision just reiterates the President’s utter disregard for the legislative process. Congress hasn’t passed ENDA, and for good reason. If Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is serious about taking President Obama to court for legislating without Congress, Monday’s order should be court exhibit A.
Trouble with a Capitol D.C.
There’s been a lot of talk about banning gay-conversion therapy, but only two states have managed to do it. The city of Washington, D.C. is desperately trying to join them by launching a big push to outlaw the counseling right in Congress’s backyard. For kids struggling with same-sex attractions, this kind of therapy has been hugely successful at steering young people toward their natural expression of sexuality. In fact, so many people still stand behind its effectiveness that the Texas GOP included a plank specifically endorsing the practice in its new Republican platform.
In the last few years, liberals -- whose only evidence against the counseling has not only been anecdotal but false -- has been adamant about banning the practice, knowing it threatens their most basic premise: that homosexuality is innate. Today, the D.C. Council heard its first found of testimony on the idea, including FRC’s Peter Sprigg’s, who tackles the Left’s myths.
“At the heart of the attacks on sexual reorientation therapy are two claims-- that such therapies are ineffective, and that they are harmful. However, there is abundant anecdotal evidence that such therapies work -- that is, people who say that they were helped by such therapies to change from predominantly homosexual to predominantly heterosexual. There is also scientific evidence. The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality has cited ‘600 reports of clinicians, researchers, and former clients -- primarily from professional and peer-reviewed scientific journals’ which show that “reorientation treatment has been helpful to many. The American Psychological Association (APA), under the sway of a small but influential pro-homosexual lobby, has criticized and discouraged (but never banned) reorientation therapy. Yet even the APA acknowledges that ‘participants reporting beneficial effects in some studies perceived changes to their sexuality, such as in their sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual behavior, [and/or] sexual orientation identity.’” (To read Peter’s full testimony -- complete with the latest data on young people, click here.)
If the Left is such an adamant believer in “choice,” surely they believe patients ought to have the right to exercise it. For more on this debate, click over to FRC’s “Protect Client and Therapist Freedom of Choice Regarding Sexual Orientation Change Efforts.”
Get out of Jail… Free?
While Americans get ready for July 4th, Meriam Ibrahim is hoping to celebrate her freedom from the radical Sudanese government. The young mom of two small children was one step closer to coming home yesterday when the local police released her into State Department custody after detaining her for two days. Thanks in part to Speaker John Boehner’s office, Sudanese officials agreed to drop the $10,000 bail initially posted for Meriam, who they accused of falsifying travel documents en route to the U.S. Now, on the eve of the Muslim holiday Ramadhan, key members of Congress on both sides of the aisle -- friends who have worked with us since Meriam’s story became international news -- are working overtime to bring the family to U.S. soil before her life is in even more jeopardy.
For now, we know that Meriam has been released to a safe house, where both governments are trying to expedite her trip to America. FRC continues to get calls from people all over the country praying for Meriam and her family. Don’t stop! Until she’s secure on American soil, Meriam, Maya, Martin, and Daniel need all of our support. Thanks to the 20,000 of you who have signed our petition calling on Secretary John Kerry to intervene. It sounds like his agency is finally listening!
** If there was ever a time to pray for our nation, it’s now. If you haven’t already, I encourage you and your church to join with an estimated million Americans across the country in Call2Fall, this Sunday, June 29. Everything you need to know about this important prayer event can be found at Call2Fall.com. Please visit the site and let us know you will be with us by clicking, “I’m in!” I’ll be observing Call2Fall at Ephrata Community Church (70 Clay School Road, Ephrata, PA 17522) on Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. If you’re in the area, I invite you to join us! Then, on Monday, June 30, I’ll be speaking in the evening at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania with the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. For more information on that, click over to mjaa.org.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.