Federal Legislation
May 19, 2010

H.R. 3017—Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

Action Requested:
HSLDA will continue to monitor this bill and will send out an action e-lert if a hearing is scheduled for this bill.

Background:
ENDA will make it illegal for employers to refuse to hire an employee based on that person’s “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” This would mean that a business or organization with more than 15 employees would be barred by federal law from refusing to hire a person because of the person’s sexual orientation or how they identify their gender “with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.” This opens up the opportunity for anyone to file a lawsuit against a business or organization they claim did not hire them based on their “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”

Although H.R. 3017 includes an exemption for religious organizations, this religious exemption could lead to courts making a determination if a certain employee was hired to perform work of a religious nature, or if the business or organization is even religious in nature. Additionally, this religious exemption would not apply to a secular company, even if owned and operated by people of faith who believe that homosexuality is a sin. H.R. 3017 will require people of faith to check their religious practices at the door of their workplace.

Legislative History:
ENDA was first introduced in 1997. Previous bills had made little progress in Congress. The 110th Congress’ version of ENDA in 2007 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, but never came to a vote in the U.S. Senate.

This time, supporters of the bill believe that they have enough votes in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to pass ENDA into law. President Obama has also indicated that he would be likely to sign ENDA into law.

Senator Jeff Merkley (OH) recently introduced S. 1584 in the Senate, which is a companion bill to H.R. 3017.

Status:

6/24/2009Introduced and referred to the House Education and Labor, the House Administration, the House Oversight and Government Reform, and the House Judiciary committees.

Sponsor: Rep. Barney Frank (MA)

Cosponsors:

Bill Summary and Status H.R. 3017

Bill Text

HSLDA’s Position:
Oppose.