Dear Marriage Supporter,
Last Thursday, the "Employee Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA)" passed in the Senate with a vote count of 64 to 32. The vote followed a weak debate over religious exemptions in the chamber, after the Senate had defeated a proposed amendment offered by Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey that would have expanded conscience protections. Senator Toomey went on after the amendment's defeat to vote for passage of ENDA anyway, along with nine other Senate Republicans!
Make no mistake: ENDA is nothing other than a Trojan horse designed to drive people of faith and traditional values further from the public square in our country.
But don't just take my word for it! Consider this: even the weak religious exemptions which are included in ENDA — which NOM, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Family Research Council, Heritage Action, and many others all consider to be entirely insufficient — are themselves being attacked by some gay activists as too large a concession!
Here's what one editorialist for the Huffington Post's 'Gay Voices' section had to say about these religious exemptions [emphasis added]:
ENDA's religious exemption is clearly from the Stone Age and isn't something we should settle for anymore. [...] The fact that ENDA is unlikely to get a vote in the House gives us a chance to make sure the religious exemption comes out of this bill. That may make it harder to get it passed, and it may take a lot longer, but so be it. [...] We still need full protections in employment, housing and public accommodations, and none should include any religious exemptions.
Of course, "full protections in employment, housing and public accommodations" are legitimate concerns, but ENDA isn't about protecting all Americans, it's about special provisions for a small portion of citizens.
Indeed, the very same writer acknowledges that this Congress's particular version of ENDA (a pot-boiler bill that has been making rounds in Washington for years) is unique: it is "the first Senate vote on employment protections around both sexual orientation and gender identity." And there's the problem.
"Sexual orientation" is a difficult enough term to pin down and define. Depending on which 'experts' one talks to, it's either fluid and flexible along a continuum of behaviors, or it's fixed and immutable. Of course, no scientist has ever identified a "sexual orientation" gene and studies among identical twins find no evidence of sexual orientation being an immutable characteristic. But if sexual orientation is a difficult concept to define, so much more so is the totally amorphous idea of "gender identity." Basically it means that if a man feels like being a woman, he is; but if he later decides he's a man again, he's that. These are dangerously fluid and shifting notions, and hardly the sort of thing one would want to build a law upon — especially a law that can result in real for damage and punishment to others.
It is not difficult to conceive of how individuals or groups could find themselves targeted by frivolous and injurious lawsuits on the basis of such slippery definitions. A person who says in passing at the water cooler at work that she's a believer in traditional marriage could suddenly be accused of engaging in hate speech and even workplace harassment!
It is a travesty that the Senate voted to pass this dangerous legislation, especially with the votes of those who profess to be conservatives. We are grateful that Speaker John Boehner has pledged that the bill won't come to the floor in the House of Representatives, but right now we need to demand answers from our Senators!
We can't stand quietly aside when our elected officials cast such poorly-conceived and dangerous votes, passing bills like ENDA that subject individuals, small businesses and religious groups to lawsuits, fines and other punishment over amorphous concepts and feelings that legal and sociological experts can't even agree on. If enacted, this law will quickly become a powerful cudgel for harassing people of faith and for beating back the First Amendment protections we cherish so dearly.
If ENDA passes, you can count on the fact that an enterprising liberal lawyer will soon be using it to argue that state marriage laws are discriminatory and unconstitutional because they violate ENDA's "nondiscrimination" proivsions.
We need to let our Senators know of our disappointment and that we will hold them accountable for failing to represent the conservative values we sent them to Washington to represent!
Click here right away and let your Senators hear from you on ENDA. Let them know where you stand on dangerous bills like this, and make sure they know that you're either pleased with their standing for your rights — or dismayed that they've trampled over them in a stampede for political cover.
If we want our leaders in Washington working for us, and not for the bullies and billionaires with their special interests and pork-barrel promises, then they need to hear from us! Don't miss this opportunity to make your voice heard. Stand up and speak out for marriage today!
Brian S. Brown
P.S.: Help us hold politicians accountable with a generous donation to NOM today. Whatever you can give — $50, $100, or even $200 — will enable us to continue to make sure your values are represented in the halls of power and in the court of public opinion. And every dollar you give to NOM between now and the end of the year will be instantly doubled by a generous donor's matching gift. Don't miss this great opportunity — give generously today!