Category Archives: ENDA

An Opportunity to Protect Conscience Rights

Last week at National Review, our friend Ryan Anderson presented four major problems with President Obama's new executive order on sexual orientation and gender identity.   The four biggest problems with the executive order, Anderson wrote, are:

1.) It undermines our nation's commitment to reasonable pluralism and reasonable diversity,

2.) It equates conscientious judgments about behavior,

3.) It does not contain a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification exemption, and

4.) It is unnecessary.

Anderson wrote:Ryan Anderson

All Americans should be free to contract with the government without penalty because of their reasonable beliefs about morally contentious issues. The federal government should not use the tax code and government contracting to reshape civil society about controversial moral issues that have nothing to do with the federal contract at stake.


Sexual orientation and gender identity are unclear, ambiguous terms. They can refer to voluntary behaviors as well as thoughts and inclinations, and it is reasonable for employers to make distinctions based on actions. By contrast, “race” and “sex” clearly refer to traits, and in the overwhelming majority of cases, these traits (unlike voluntary behaviors) do not affect fitness for any job.

A Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) exemption, Anderson wrote, "allow employers to make employment decisions so long as those decisions are honestly related to job qualifications."

For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act contains a BFOQ that allows employers to take sex into account: hiring a female camp counselor at an all-girls sleep-away summer camp, for example, which might otherwise seem to be “sex discrimination.”

This new executive order presents an opportunity for Congress to act to protect conscience rights and religious liberty, Anderson argued:

Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage.  The government should be prohibited from discriminating against such groups or individuals in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting. This is the policy approach proposed by the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 3133, S. 1808).

This is indeed the time for Congress to move to protect conscience rights and religious liberty.  The left is doubling down on their attacks on marriage supporters and religious liberty.  America is healthier and freer when the law tolerates a diverse array of opinions and religious beliefs.

Southern Baptist Convention: Executive Order Violates Freedom of Conscience

SBCRussell Moore, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has joined other faith leaders in raising concerns over the lack of religious liberty protections in President Obama's new executive order.

Moore said:

“While we don’t know the full implications of this executive order, I am disappointed that this administration persistently violates the freedom of conscience for religious organizations that provide necessary relief for the poor and endangered.  The same religious convictions that inspire their social action are the convictions now considered outside the new mainstream of sexual revolutionary fundamentalism. The ones hurt will be the most vulnerable in our society.”

This new executive order could result in Christians and those who belief in marriage as the union of a man and a woman facing reprisal and even punishment simply for expressing their views in the workplace.

Catholic Bishops Slam "Unprecendented and Extreme" Executive Order

The bishop-Chairmen of two USCCB Committees slammed President Obama’s July 21 "gender identity" executive order for its lack of religious freedom protection and "flaws in its core prohibitions."  This new "non-discrimination" executive order, aimed at preventing workplace discrimination against LGBT persons, opens the door to discrimination against Christians and those with deeply-held beliefs about the nature of marriage and human sexuality.

Catholic BishopRe-iterating the Catholic Church's opposition to unjust discrimination and sexual conduct outside of marriage, the bishops outlined how this new executive order "implements discrimination" and why Catholics and people of goodwill should oppose it.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth said:

Today’s executive order is unprecedented and extreme and should be opposed.

In the name of forbidding discrimination, this order implements discrimination. With the stroke of a pen, it lends the economic power of the federal government to a deeply flawed understanding of human sexuality, to which faithful Catholics and many other people of faith will not assent. As a result, the order will exclude federal contractors precisely on the basis of their religious beliefs.

ObamaMore specifically, the Church strongly opposes both unjust discrimination against those who experience a homosexual inclination and sexual conduct outside of marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman. But the executive order, as it regards federal government contractors, ignores the inclination/conduct distinction in the undefined term “sexual orientation.” As a result, even contractors that disregard sexual inclination in employment face the possibility of exclusion from federal contracting if their employment policies or practices reflect religious or moral objections to extramarital sexual conduct.

The executive order prohibits “gender identity” discrimination, a prohibition that is previously unknown at the federal level, and that is predicated on the false idea that “gender” is nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality that can be chosen at variance from one’s biological sex. This is a problem not only of principle but of practice, as it will jeopardize the privacy and associational rights of both federal contractor employees and federal employees. For example, a biological male employee may be allowed to use the women’s restroom or locker room provided by the employer because the male employee identifies as a female.


ICYMI: US Catholic Bishops Lend Their Voice to Chorus of ENDA Opposition

In all of the activity last week surrounding the Senate's consideration of ENDA ("The Employee Non-Discrimination Act of 2013"), we forgot to share with you this statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Emphasizing the dignity of all people, the bishops quoted Pope Francis’ statement that “Work is fundamental to that dignity.” They added that “the Catholic Church has consistently stood with workers in this country and continues to oppose unjust discrimination in the workplace. No one should be an object of scorn, hatred, or violence for any reason, including his or her sexual inclinations.”

Catholic BishopThe bishops noted, however, that ENDA goes beyond prohibiting unjust discrimination and poses several problems. The bishops explained that the bill: (1) lacks an exception for a “bona fide occupational qualification,” which exists for every other category of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, except for race; (2) lacks a distinction between homosexual inclination and conduct, thus affirming and protecting extramarital sexual conduct; (3) supports the redefinition of marriage, as state-level laws like ENDA have been invoked in state court decisions finding marriage discriminatory or irrational; (4) rejects the biological basis of gender by defining “gender identity” as something people may choose at variance with their biological sex; and (5) threatens religious liberty by punishing as discrimination the religious or moral disapproval of same-sex sexual conduct, while protecting only some religious employers.

Click here to see more from the Bishops' conference regarding their position on this bill, which passed the Senate last week 64-32. Speaker of the House John Boehner has stated firmly that the measure will not be brought up for consideration in that chamber.

National Organization for Marriage Disappointed with Senate Passage of ENDA; Confident Speaker’s Leadership Will Defeat Measure in House

Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)

"ENDA could be a Trojan horse that enables the marriage redefinition agenda to be forced on the entire nation through the courts." — Brian Brown, NOM president —


Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today expressed disappointment at the Senate's passage of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA), but cited confidence in House Speaker John Boehner's leadership as giving a firm expectation that the measure will be defeated.

"We are very disappointed by the Senate's passage of this bill," said Brian Brown, NOM's President. "While protecting people against discrimination is a very important goal, this legislation is problematic because of its broad and unclear definitions. Concepts like 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' are too vague to be a basis for such a law which could lead to individuals facing reprisals or even criminal action simply for expressing their values in the workplace."

Brown went on to note that NOM was especially disappointed in the measure's support by several Republican Senators: "We are disappointed with the Republican Senators who voted for this bill for failing to see its dangerous implications for pro-family Americans. Many of these Senators' constituents hold to traditional values like the belief in marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but ENDA could be a Trojan horse that enables the marriage redefinition agenda to be forced on the entire nation through the courts."

While the measure passed in the Senate 64-32, it faces a very difficult road in the House, where Speaker John Boehner has publicly pledged his opposition to the bill and expressed an unwillingness to even take the matter up for a vote.

"We are grateful for Speaker Boehner’s leadership in the House on this issue," said Brown. "He understands the kinds of frivolous lawsuits and bullying through litigation that could come about as the result of such a measure."

Brown expressed hopes that other Republican leaders in the House would similarly announce their opposition to ENDA in order to send a strong signal to the special interest groups lobbying for the bill's passage. "We will be asking all of NOM's supporters to contact the House of Representatives urging that they reject ENDA," Brown said.


To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), [email protected], or Matille Thebolt (x143), [email protected], at 703-683-5004.

Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).

Anderson: "The ENDA Agenda"

On Thursday at The National Review Online, Ryan T. Anderson from Heritage - and co-author of What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense - took on "The ENDA Agenda."

Ryan AndersonRyan points out a remarkable confluence where "conservatives and libertarians alike oppose this bill," explaining why:

Of course, employers should respect the intrinsic dignity of all their employees. But ENDA is bad public policy. Its threats to our freedoms unite civil libertarians concerned about free speech and religious liberty, free marketers concerned about freedom of contract and government interference in the marketplace, and social conservatives concerned about marriage and culture[.]

Ryan then spells out the connection between ENDA and threats to traditional marriage believers on the basis of precedents we've seen set by local and state legislation of a similar kind to ENDA:

It is hard to square ENDA’s basic purpose with any robust protection of citizens’ rights to speak freely of religious or moral convictions about marriage and sexuality. Indeed Americans are paying the price where their state or local governments have passed sexual-orientation and gender-identity statutes.

You can read the entire piece here.

Heritage Releases New Report on ENDA

In addition to the resources we shared earlier, our readers may want to check out The Heritage Foundation's new backgrounder report on the "Employee Non-Discrimination Act of 2013" (ENDA). [Click here to read our action alert about this bill.]

The new report from Heritageauthored by Ryan T. Anderson, is (like the "fact sheet" we posted earlier) entitled "ENDA Threatens Fundamental Civil Liberties."

Here's just an excerpt:

[ENDA] would further weaken the marriage culture and the ability of citizens and their associations to affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that sexual relations are reserved for marriage so understood.[14] ENDA would treat these convictions as if they were bigotry.

Furthermore, ENDA would ban decisions based on moral views common to the Abrahamic faith traditions and to great thinkers from Plato to Kant as unjust discrimination. Whether by religion, reason, or experience, many people of goodwill believe that our bodies are an essential part of who we are. On this view, maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human to be valued and affirmed, not rejected or altered. Thus, our sexual embodiment as male and female goes to the heart of what marriage is: a union of sexually complementary spouses. Again, however, ENDA would deem such judgments irrational and unlawful.

You can click here to read or download the report and study it before contacting your legislators.

The ENDA Rational Argument

Proponents of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which is approaching a vote in the Senate are quick to dismiss arguments that the bill may be a Trojan horse for the same-sex marriage agenda.

(This is a tactic with which those of us in the marriage debate are very familiar. When an argument for traditional marriage is first made, it is scoffed at and dismissed outright. When that argument is then proven to be valid and true, it is studiously ignored. It is the equivalent in public discourse of putting your fingers in your ears and humming.)

EmployeesBut the arguments for marriage will not go away simply by activists' pretending they don't exist.

And neither will arguments proving ENDA to be a threat to marriage.

A great resource outlining such arguments has just been released this week over at the website of The Heritage Foundation.

The factsheet entitled "ENDA Threatens Fundamental Civil Liberties" points out:

ENDA would further weaken the marriage culture and the ability of civil society to affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human. ENDA would treat these moral convictions as if they were bigotry.

Download the factsheet for yourself here.

And while you're at Heritage, you can also check out some other resources on ENDA.

For example, there is a lengthy paper entitled ENDA and the Path to Same-Sex Marriage from back in 2009 which, along with its Executive Summary, demonstrates how even same-sex marriage activists themselves have claimed "legislation like ENDA as a key step on the 'incremental' path to same-sex marriage":

[L]aws like ENDA have already proved to be an important step toward legal recog­nition for homosexual unions in several states throughout the country. In states including Ver­mont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Cali­fornia, Connecticut, and Iowa, courts have cited sexual orientation nondiscrimination laws in decisions mandating same-sex marriage or some other form of legal recognition for homosexual unions. And no state has legislatively redefined marriage without first enacting a sexual orientation nondiscrimination law [SOURCE].

Once you've gotten appraised of these arguments which are only the beginning of the rationale for why ENDA is such dangerous legislation, click here to find out how you can help make sure that this law is rejected and Americans' first amendment rights are protected.

The Senate is Building a Trojan Horse

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

A bill coming up for a vote in the Senate next-week innocuously named the "Employee Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA)" is nothing other than a Trojan horse built to attack the foundational institution of marriage between a man and a woman.

This disastrous piece of legislation is modeled on various local and state non-discrimination statutes that have already been used as tools in advancing the same-sex 'marriage' agenda around the nation. In the wake of Justice Kennedy's misguided opinion in the DOMA case (Windsor v. U.S.) it is certain that this federal ENDA bill will become a fulcrum used by same-sex 'marriage' activists to try to foist a marriage redefinition regime on the entire country.

Why is ENDA so dangerous? Because with the precedent set by this bill, courts in states around the country would soon find easy rationale for ruling that any organization or business that treats same-sex 'marriage' as different from man-woman marriage are discriminatory by definition. Under the law, individuals holding the common-sense belief that marriage is about giving kids a mom and a dad would be subject to punishment. Expressions of support for true marriage in the workplace would no longer be a fundamental right, but discriminatory, bigoted and an actionable offense!

I need you to contact the Senate right away and let them know where you stand on this egregiously flawed law. Urge them to reject ENDA and to preserve pro-marriage Americans' rights to speak, vote, donate, or act in defense of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

In particular, there are eight senators who need to hear from you today. These senators are 'on the fence' and you can bet they'll be hearing from noisy same-sex 'marriage' lobbyists who want this legislation passed so that they can use it as a tool for forwarding their radical agenda.

Here is the contact information for these key legislators. Take some time today to call their offices and voice your opinion on ENDA using the recommended talking points below:

Senator John McCain (R.–AZ) —   202-224-2235
Senator Rob Portman (R.–OH) —   202-224-3353
Senator Orrin Hatch (R.–UT) —   202-224-5251
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R.–NH) —   202-224-3324
Senator Jeff Flake (R.–AZ) —   202-224-4521
Senator Dean Heller (R.–NV) —   202-224-6244
Senator Pat Toomey (R.–PA) —   202-224-4254
Senator John Barrasso (R.–WY) —   202-224-2946


Ask for a legislative staffer if you get through, or leave a voicemail to make sure these senators know where the majority of Americans stand on this dangerous bill. Here are some talking points to guide your discussion:

"I oppose ENDA because it is a threat to religious liberty, workplace civility, and traditional marriage."

"This bill will be used to bully and intimidate traditionally-minded citizens and organizations like we've already seen occurring in states that have passed they own ENDA-type laws."

"Believers in traditional marriage are already threatened with stigmatization by the reckless wording of Justice Kennedy's DOMA decision, and this bill will put them in even more danger of being labeled bigots or haters by those who disagree with them."

"Employees nationwide shouldn't feel that their workplaces are hostile environments just because of their belief in marriage."

"This bill will almost certainly be used as a tool for pushing a nationwide redefinition of marriage."

"I urge you to reject this bill and protect religious liberty and marriage."

After you've made your calls today, don't forget to use the NOM Action Center to send an email to your own senators and urge them to cast a vote for marriage and religious liberty next week.

And be sure to share this message with your family and friends, via email, or on Facebook and Twitter so that they can take action, too!

We need as many people as possible to become aware of the threat of this Trojan horse being built in the senate before it becomes a weapon in same-sex 'marriage' activists' arsenal.

Thank you for taking action today!


Brian S. Brown

P.S.: If you'd like to learn more about ENDA or do more to stop this dangerous legislation, Family Research Council's legislative action arm, FRCAction, is leading the charge with a great online resource: Be sure to check it out!