June 18, 2013 (FRC) – In the midst of so many crises, it's comforting to know that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is focused on what matters: genderless bathrooms. Unfortunately, that's just one effect of a sweeping proposal that could destroy personal freedom in the American workplace. On Flag Day, Reid saluted the rainbow flag instead of Old Glory, becoming the 50th cosponsor of the Senate's latest Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), one of the most anti-business policies this Congress will consider.
After two decades of debate, the legislation has new legs under President Obama, who said earlier in the month that the Senate needs to get the measure “done now.” Like most liberals, Harry Reid disguises the bill as an anti-discrimination policy when in fact, the bill itself discriminates against men and women who oppose cross-dressing or blatant homosexuality on the job. Although some people defend it as an innocent piece of anti-prejudice legislation, ENDA creates special employment protections solely on the basis of a person's sexual preferences. Businesses would be forced to comply (or face penalties), regardless of the impact on their organization.
“The gender identity provisions,” FRC's Peter Sprigg warns in an op-ed for CNN, “undermine the right of employers to impose reasonable dress and grooming standards, by forbidding employers to use the most fundamental standard of all — that people be dressed in a way [that's] appropriate for their biological sex!” Not too long ago, Sen. Reid's position — which orders employers (like preschools) to hire transvestites, transsexuals, drag queens, and drag kings — was considered “too radical” even for homosexual congressman Barney Frank!
And unlike past bills, Sen. Jeff Merkley's (D-Ore.) version doesn't include an exemption for bathrooms, which means that employers at daycares, public schools, and Christian businesses would all have to change their restroom and shower policies to accommodate men who dress like women and vice-versa. Can you imagine walking into your daughter's classroom and seeing her teacher dressed in drag — or that same man using the ladies restroom with female students? Apparently Senate liberals can.
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Apart from the bill's obvious problems, this legislation would be a magnet for lawsuits. “[W]ith the law in place, everyone who doesn't get hired or is removed for cause of any sort finds themselves with the opportunity to sue the employer under the new rules.” HotAir goes on to talk about the financial drain this litigation would be on an already struggling and overregulated economy. “Dollars spent in such lawsuits and settlements are dollars not available to expand the payroll and get more workers off the unemployment lines.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) challenged the wisdom of such a policy in a statement last week. “By and large, I think all Americans should be protected,” he said, “but I'm not for any special protections based on sexual orientation.” Kudos to Senator Rubio for recognizing that this bill would be just another government club to beat businesses with. It wasn't too long ago that homosexual activists said they just wanted “to get the government out of their bedroom.” Now we know why: they want to put their bedroom in the workplace!
To help people understand exactly what's at stake, FRC produced an important documentary that your church, family, and friends need to see. It takes you behind the scenes of communities where laws like ENDA already exist and exposes how destructive the legislation will be, particularly to the faith community.
Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council.