Employment discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation and gender identity
2009 to now:
Part 1: Background. Basic beliefs by individuals
and groups supporting and opposing ENDA.
ENDA bills were introduced to the House on
2009-JUN-24, and to the Senate on 2009-AUG-07. They have been periodically reintroduced.
Both are referred to as "inclusive" bills because they prevent discrimination
on the basis of gender identity as well as sexual orientation.
Thus, the bills would cover every American in two ways -- prohibiting discrimination both:
- On the basis of their sexual orientation, whether they are heterosexual, bisexual
or homosexual, and
- On the basis of their gender identity, whether they be cis-gendered or transgender. The
vast majority of adults are cis-gendered; their perceived gender and genetic
genders match. A minority is transgender: their perceived and genetic
genders do not match. Sometime the latter describe themselves as having a
female mind in a male body, or vice-versa.
The basic beliefs among individuals and groups supporting and opposing ENDA differ greatly:
Support for ENDA comes primarily from LGBT-positive groups, civil rights groups, liberal faith groups, and their members. Most believe that:
- Sexual orientation and gender identity are fixed (or essentially fixed) and almost always beyond the control of the individual.
- Everyone knows at the very depths of their being what their gender is. However, transgender persons and transsexuals experience a conflict between the gender that they know they are and the gender with which they were identified at birth.
- A transgender person or transsexual should be identified as being of the gender that they know they are. So a person identified as a male at birth who has transitioned to a woman, who looks like a woman, and acts like a woman, is referred to as a woman.
- Discrimination against persons with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity is a major evil.
In the case of a conflict between an employer's religious freedom to discriminate and an employees' rights to be treated fairly and not be discriminated against, the employee should win, and retain their job securely.
Opposition to ENDA comes primarily from conservative religious groups. Most believe that:
- Sexual orientation and gender identity are chosen and changeable.
- Transgender individuals and transsexuals have an intense hatred of their genetic sex.
- A transgender person or transsexual should be identified as being of the gender with which they were identified at birth. So a person identified as male at birth who has transitioned to a woman, who looks like a woman, and acts like a woman is referred to as a man.
- A minority sexual orientation or gender identity is, by themselves, a major evil.
In the case of a conflict between an employer's religious freedom to discriminate and an employees' rights to be treated fairly and not be discriminated against, the employer should win. She or he should be free to fire any employee who acts in what they consider to be an immoral way when away from work. Religious freedom includes the freedom to discriminate against others.
- Transgender persons and transsexuals are simply confused about what their gender really is.
A typical example of a supporting group: Human Rights Campaign (HRC):
President Joe Solmonese, of HRC, a LGBT-positive
"The introduction of an inclusive employment non-discrimination bill in the
U.S. Senate is an important and historic step in ending discrimination based
on sexual orientation and gender identity. No American, and that includes LGBT
Americans, should have to worry about their livelihood being taken away from
them simply for being who they are. The overwhelming majority of the
American people are in favor of this legislation and now is the time for our
community to visit their representatives in Congress to let them know we need
this passed into law."
Meghan Stabler, a HRC Business Council member said:
"Today is a historic day; the first time that an Inclusive ENDA (covering
Sexual Orientation AND Gender Identity) has been introduced into the Senate
chamber. I know that all of us in the Transgender community applaud the Senate
sponsors for taking the lead to provide workplace discrimination protections
for all. However, this is only the
first step and now we must continue our focus on education and telling
of our personal stories to every legislator in the hopes of passing this bill
to move it to the President's desk for signature." 1
Typical examples of opposing groups:
OneNewsNow is a fundamentalist Christian news
source. Robert Knight wrote an article on ENDA, He:
- Described the ENDA bill as the "gay quota bill," even though no
quota system is covered by the bill.
Describes an ideal political system as a theocracy -- one
integrating religion and state -- rather than separating
church and state."
- Describes feelings of sexual attraction, which normally define the three sexual
orientations, as changeable -- like religion which is another protected class.
- Described homophobia and transphobia -- discrimination against persons on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity -- as traditional Christian values.
- Described sexual behavior by sexual minorities to be
intrinsically sinful, no matter what the nature of their relationships might be.
"ENDA is profoundly dangerous. It turns private sin into a
public right and brings the force of government against morality itself. Any
such law is a violation of our unalienable rights as proclaimed in the
Declaration of Independence. To put it more simply, a statute that directly
contradicts [the Judeo-Christian] God's moral law is illegitimate. Laws embody
and reflect morality, or they are not laws. They are tyranny. That's why
so-called same-sex "marriage" laws are absurd and
treacherous. Forcing citizens to accept a counterfeit as the real thing is an
act of despotism."
"ENDA adds not only 'sexual orientation' but 'gender identity' to federal
workplace anti-discrimination law. Thus, it takes an ax to the idea that
sexual behavior has a natural normalcy or any relation to morality. It falsely
equates a changeable condition (sexual desire) with race and ethnicity. Worse,
it turns traditional values into a form of bigotry punishable under the law.
"The Left has long been at war against sexual morals for good reason. People
conditioned to think as short-term opportunists instead of as members of the
family tree are easy to manipulate. Just give them the false promise of a
painless future free from individual responsibility." 2
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Michael Cole, "Inclusive ENDA introduced in Senate for first time," Human
Rights Campaign, 2009-AUG-05, at:
Robert Knight, "The undeclared war to ENDA our liberty," One News Now, 2009-AUG-13, at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/
Copyright © 2009 to 2013 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2009-AUG-07
Latest update: 2013-OCT-31
Author: B.A. Robinson