Family Research Council

November 01, 2013 - Friday

It's the ENDA the World as We Know It...

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.

It's all part of the agenda called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, an innocuous-sounding, but republic-altering piece of legislation that has the power to fundamentally destroy Americans' First Amendment rights. Under this bill, the same community that said it wanted to keep the government out of its bedroom would be bringing their bedroom to work -- where employers would be forced to reward workers based on their sexual preferences.

Through ENDA (which FRC has blocked for a decade), businesses would be ordered to make hiring, firing, and promotion decisions -- not based on a person's qualifications -- but on their sexual expression. Homosexuals, cross-dressers, and transgendered workers would automatically qualify for special treatment that other workers would not. Can you imagine walking into your child's classroom and meeting a teacher dressed in drag? Neither can most Americans. But unfortunately, that's just one of the many consequences of adopting a law as dangerous as this one. Preschools, daycare centers, summer camps, religious chains like Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-A -- they'll all be subject to the law, regardless of their personal beliefs and workplace standards.

Obviously, FRC isn't in favor of discrimination against anyone for any reason. But a law like this wouldn't stop discrimination -- it would encourage it against anyone with a traditional view of morality. We all know how the activist community works. Homosexuals and transgenders will use this law to marginalize Christians and take over the marketplace -- until only their "lifestyle" is promoted. ENDA isn't about tolerance -- it's about a nationwide celebration of unlimited sexual expression. And Christians, like fired Fox Sportscaster Craig James, will be the ones paying the price.

The Left wants to equate opposition to ENDA with intolerance, when in reality, this policy would breed real intolerance toward people like Craig, who are already being fired simply for holding conservative beliefs. Although James never once talked about his views of marriage on the air, Fox executives didn't care. "We just asked ourselves how Craig's statements would play with our HR department," the network said.

Imagine how many conservatives would find themselves in the same unemployment line if ENDA were the law of the land! The workplace would be open season on people with religious convictions and beliefs. Christians (and people who follow most major religions) would be silenced and forced underground, while homosexuals and transgenders turn the business world into their strongest political platform.

A lot of squishy Republicans think they fix the problem with a religious liberty amendment to ENDA. But as we've seen with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which the courts have shot full of holes), it will take a legislative firewall -- not an amendment -- to protect faithful Americans.

Meanwhile, Christians wouldn't be the only ones hurt by the law. Just ask American Eagle. When an employee started cross-dressing, managers said it made shoppers uncomfortable. But when the store tried to enforce its standards, the company was sued. As part of a private settlement, American Eagle had to agree to hire transgenders no matter how uncomfortable it makes customers -- or employees! Some New Yorkers were surprised. Shouldn't companies be free to enforce a dress code? Not if ENDA passes.

In Maryland, one hair salon owner testified that she'll lose business under a similar "non-discrimination" law. Like a lot of shop owners, she said the government can force her to hire transgenders, but it can't force customers who are uncomfortable with them to come into her salon. Still, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the rest of his party are intent on bringing ENDA up for a vote as early as next week. The only way to put the brakes on this devastating proposal is by speaking out. Contact your senators today and urge them to oppose ENDA -- for freedom's sake.

The Fifth Circuit Rules! Judges Reinstate Pro-life Law

Just when Texans put their pro-life celebration on ice, a federal appeals court late yesterday gave the state reason to cheer. Three days after Judge Lee Yeakle struck down two pillars of the state's new abortion law, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals kick-started the restrictions that voters had fought so hard to pass. In a huge victory for democracy, the New Orleans-based bench unanimously overruled Yeakle and let the law take effect until the full trial is heard in January. For the next three months, local clinics will have to abide by the tighter safety standards, including the rules that doctors can't perform abortions in anything but a licensed surgical center or without admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles.

The judges' decision is already triggering panic in the local abortion network, which might be forced to close at least 12 clinics that offer substandard protection for women. Until the trial early next year, Planned Parenthood and others will have to prove that they comply with the law or shut their doors completely. If everything goes according to plan, a slate of shoddy abortion clinics will be posting "closed" signs on their entrances.

And not a moment too soon, based on the news out of Beaumont, San Antonio, and McAllen, Texas. There, inspectors finally released their reports on the disgusting conditions in at least four of the state's five Whole Woman Health facilities. With the kind of negligence that would have made Kermit Gosnell proud, local officials were stunned by the absolute filth of the clinics' rooms. It was the same conditions we've come to expect from an industry driven by the dollar -- not devotion to the health of women. Inspectors found everything from rusty suction machines, dirty instruments, and expired medication to contaminated tools and holes in the floor. By interviewing staff, they discovered that employees were so untrained that most didn't even know what the sterilization procedure was. In a rush to get patients in and out, the clinic was a breeding ground for infection.

While the CEO of Women's Health insists that "there is no safety problem around abortion in Texas," her own network is exposing mothers to an environment most people wouldn't want their pets in. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, agents have flagged and cited the clinics for violating safety standards, "some dozens of times." It's time for Republicans in Washington stop running when the Left yells about a "war on women" and start putting the responsibility for this war where it belongs: on the abortion industry and the pandering politicians who do their bidding.

Kids' Identity Law Doesn't En-gender Support

They're teaching children a lot of things in California -- but anatomy must not be one of them! Under a law passed by the legislature earlier this year, the state's public schools are encouraging general confusion by giving students access to whatever sports teams, bathrooms, or locker rooms fit their "self-perceived" sex. Thanks to lawmakers and Governor Jerry Brown (D), who proudly signed the first-of-its-kind bill into law earlier this year, boys will be able to join the cheerleading squad and girls can use the boys' bathrooms starting January 1.

Not if we can help it, say parents, who have rallied across the state to repeal the law in a special referendum drive that comes to a close next week. The Privacy For All Students Coalition has been working for weeks to gather the half-million signatures it needs by next Wednesday to put AB 1266 on the ballot. "Fathers are in an uproar, because they definitely do not want little boys going into the restroom with their little girls in elementary school," said one of the volunteers for the group.

Fortunately, the California Republican Party is helping to give the campaign legs by officially voting to fight the law at its convention earlier this month. If you live in California and haven't signed on, please click over to the coalition and download the petition to protect innocent kids from this radical agenda! If you don't live in California, you can always contribute financially. As we've seen, what happens in California doesn't always stay there.

** Anna Higgins's report on the D.C. exchange programs caught more than the media's eye. Local officials called FRC to try and set the record straight on the plans available in the nation's capital. See where that conversation led in Anna's follow-up piece for Townhall, "D.C. Exchange Retracts Claim that Abortion Is an Essential Benefit in All Health Plans."


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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