It is not every day the President of the United States becomes a blogger. However, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, queued to reach the Senate floor this week, was enough to prompt Obama to contribute an op-ed to the Huffington Post Sunday.
If the legislation were passed, it would prohibit “private sector employers and local, State, and Federal Government employers” to make decisions based on the sexual orientation or gender identity of their employees.
Obama promoted a vision of America where everyone has equal rights:
“Americans can't be fired from their jobs just because of the color of their skin or for being Christian or Jewish or a woman or an individual with a disability. That kind of discrimination has no place in our nation. And yet, right now, in 2013, in many states a person can be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.”
However, in an attempt to be non-discriminatory, some argue the law could become an infringement on religious freedom. The religious exemption is based on on title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
As explained by the Traditional Values Coalition:
“Title VII does not identify what constitutes a “religious corporation, association, educational institution or society.”...the result is that employers very often find that they are unable to successfully defend themselves on the grounds that they are exempt as a religious organization. Furthermore, this unpredictability would place a significant burden on these faith-based entities to determine whether they would need to comply with ENDA and offer equal employment opportunities to homosexuals, bisexuals, transgendered and bi-gender individuals even though doing so would be contrary to their religious convictions and the mission of their enterprise.”
The American Civil Liberties Union pitched the argument that religious beliefs, while important, do not:
“...allow us to harm or discriminate against others. Religious liberty, contrary to what opponents of equality argue, is not a license to use religion to discriminate.”
President Obama promised to sign the law, making the United States “fairer and stronger for generations to come.” But let’s not be too eager to promote ‘fairness’ which could result in thousands being forced to compromise their personal beliefs. We have seen that enough already with the many lawsuits pitted against the unconstitutional HHS mandate.
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