CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866) 372-6397
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins today urged the U.S. Senate to reject the so-called "Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013" (ENDA), S. 815, a bill that mandates special rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Businesses would be forced to comply (or face penalties), regardless of the impact on their organizations.
Media reports indicate that cloture could be filed tonight and the Senate could vote on the legislation as early as Monday. Family Research Council Action will score the legislation in its annual vote scorecard.
FRC President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
"The Senate should vote against ENDA because it threatens the free market, undermines employers' rights, and violates the free exercise of religion.
"The vast majority of employers would not consider an employee's sexual orientation relevant or even want to know about an employee's sex life. However, ENDA would transform the workplace into an environment in which certain sexual lifestyles are given a special status by the federal government and religious expression is suppressed.
"ENDA would be a magnet for costly lawsuits that burden businesses in an already suffering economy. Under ENDA, employers could be sued over a characteristic which may not be visible or known by the employer. Employers will translate these new liabilities into legal and financial costs that are passed on to consumers.
"Because employers can also be held liable for workplace environment complaints, employers will be inclined to silence employees who express a religious belief or opinion that isn't deemed as accommodating to perceived or changing gender identity.
"ENDA ignores the concerns of women and children by mandating that employers not show discretion in the employment of homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered individuals in occupations which they feel are unsuitable. ENDA forbids schools, child care centers, and other child-centered employers from making hiring decisions even if such employers prefer not to have children confront such complex and confusing questions. The gender identity provisions also undermine the right of employers to set dress and grooming standards which they feel are reasonable.
"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," concluded Perkins.
Download Family Research Council's new publication, "The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA): A Threat to Free Markets and Freedom of Conscience and Religion."