|HSLDA’s Department of Federal Relations||September 21, 2007|
Oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
Director of Federal Relations
Congress is considering H.R. 2015, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would forbid employers of over 15 persons from discriminating in employment or hiring against any person based upon that person’s “sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Unlike similar legislation in the past, ENDA has only a very narrow exemption for churches. This means that all businesses and nearly all religious organizations or associations would be subject to ENDA’s provisions. An organization such as HSLDA would be forced to hire someone regardless of that person’s “sexual orientation or gender identity.” Private religious schools and colleges, homeschool support groups and co-ops that employ more than 15 people, and other organizations would all be subject to ENDA’s provisions.
Reasons to Oppose H.R. 2015, ENDA:
- ENDA would require a religious organization to hire a person whose sexual preference violates the religious organization's mission. The exception for religious organizations in ENDA is so narrow that it would only apply to churches or other organizations that have as their “primary purpose religious ritual or worship or the teaching or spreading of religious doctrine or belief.” This means that many religious organizations and associations would be required to hire a person regardless of that person’s “sexual orientation or gender identity.” Some examples of entities which would likely be subject to ENDA include HSLDA, religious textbook publishers, large homeschool support groups or co-ops that employ more than 15 people, all for profit business, and many others.
- ENDA would open the door to expensive lawsuits against employers. Even if a religious organization is exempt under ENDA’s religious exception, employers will likely face long, costly lawsuits if there is any actual or perceived discrimination against an employee or prospective employee based on that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
- ENDA would extend protected class status to people based on their “actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.” This adds a completely new class of persons to the current class of federally protected persons. Currently, federal class protection applies only to persons who meet three standards: an obvious, immutable characteristic; a history of discrimination evidenced by economic disenfranchisement; and political powerlessness. ENDA would add “actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity” to current protected classes such as race or sex.
ENDA represents an intrusion of the federal government into matters that should be left to the conscience of employers and the decisions of private companies. For this reason and the reasons listed above, HSLDA urges Congress to oppose H.R. 2015, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.