Now that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been introduced in the House, watch for Christian fundamentalists to reintroduce their tired rhetoric.
I'd like to dispel some of their arguments right out of the box:
rhetoric: ENDA will turn groups like the Boy Scouts into targets of federally funded lawsuits.
fact: The Supreme Court has already ruled on this. BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA v. DALE:
Applying New Jersey's public accommodations law to require the Boy Scouts to admit Dale violates the Boy Scouts' First Amendment right of expressive association. rhetoric:
ENDA will constitute a major expansion of federal power over the workplace and create a new way for the government to manipulate employers. ENDA's intent is to create grounds for lawsuits. By injecting sexuality into civil rights law, ENDA opens a Pandora's box of ways for the government to dictate to businesses.
The federal government already prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin and has since 1964.
rhetoric: EDNA will make people's sexual temptations a source of material for federal lawsuits. The law properly deals with actions, not beliefs. ENDA creates a new class based on the fuzzy grounds of perception and intention. This is far removed from laws designed to end racial discrimination, because not only is race evident but also it has no moral aspect. Sexual behavior is fraught with moral consequences.
fact: "Homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social and vocational capabilities." - The American Psychological Association. Unsafe sexual practices have consequences regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity
rhetoric: ENDA will elevate multiple-sex-partner relationships into a federally protected "right."
fact: ENDA does not require employers to provide domestic partner benefits. ENDA does not apply in any way to discrimination based on personal relationship configuration, only sexual orientation and gender identity.
rhetoric: ENDA will put the federal government in the position of adopting a view of sexuality utterly at odds with that propounded by the major faiths of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
fact: There is a separation of church and state. Religious doctrine has no place in governmental legislation. Thomas Jefferson said:
"Whenever... preachers, instead of a lesson in religion, put [their congregation] off with a discourse on the Copernican system, on chemical affinities, on the construction of government, or the characters or conduct of those administering it, it is a breach of contract, depriving their audience of the kind of service for which they are salaried, and giving them, instead of it, what they did not want, or, if wanted, would rather seek from better sources in that particular art of science." -Thomas Jefferson to P. H. Wendover, 1815. ME 14:281rhetoric:
: ENDA will award special protections to an already privileged group.
ENDA will give GLBT citizens protections already given to others based race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
rhetoric: ENDA will change national policy by forcing the government to abandon support for marriage - the bedrock of every healthy society.
fact: Nothing in the act will prohibit a covered entity from enforcing rules and policies, if the rules or policies are designed for, and uniformly applied to, all individuals regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
rhetoric: ENDA will lead to further demands by homosexual activists to force others to celebrate abnormal and unhealthy sexual behavior.
fact: There is no "GLBT Pride celebration" clause in the bill.
This bill is very modest in its reach (as Marla Stevens has already pointed out), but I do think it's a step in the right direction.