Senate HELP Committee's Approval of ENDA Threatens Religious Liberty, Employers' Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2013
CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866) 372-6397

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins expressed strong disagreement with the U.S. Senate HELP Committee's approval of S. 815, a bill that mandates special rights based on sexual preferences. Businesses would be forced to comply (or face penalties), regardless of the impact on their organization. 

The legislation in its current form also requires employers at daycares, public schools, and Christian businesses to change their restroom and shower policies to accommodate men who dress like women and vice-versa.

FRC President Tony Perkins released the following statement in response to committee approval of the so-called "Employment Non-Discrimination Act" (ENDA):

"In the midst of so many crises, many are left to wonder why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) are pushing legislation that mandates special rights based on sexual preferences.  

"The law unfairly places burdens on employers to know about their employees' sexual lifestyles and to take that into consideration when making employment decisions. Businesses, including daycares and public schools, will be ordered to comply (or face penalties), regardless of the impact on their organization. Apart from the bill's obvious special interest problems, it would be a magnet for costly lawsuits that burden businesses in an already suffering economy.

"The gender identity provisions undermine the right of employers to impose reasonable dress and grooming standards by forbidding employers from using the most fundamental standard of all - that people be dressed in a way that is appropriate for their own biological sex. This legislation unfairly discriminates against men and women who oppose cross-dressing in the workplace. The current bill even goes so far as to require employers at daycares, public schools, and Christian businesses to change their restroom and shower policies to accommodate men who dress like women and vice-versa.  

"Most importantly, the legislation violates employers' and employees' constitutional freedoms of religion, speech and association. One employee's sexual preference does not deserve greater protection than a business owner's exercise of religious liberty.

"We call on the full U.S. Senate to reject this unnecessary legislation that threatens the free market, undermines employers' rights, and violates the free exercise of religion," concluded Perkins.

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