Conservative group The Heritage
Foundation on Friday announced its opposition to the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
ENDA seeks to ban workplace
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The
bill cleared a Senate committee with the help of three Republicans in
July and is expected to reach the full Senate on Monday.
Heritage and its president, former
South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, are credited with playing a
prominent role in the Republican Party's shift to the right and
increasing demands that President Barack Obama repeal or defund the
Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.
“ENDA is bad public policy,”
Heritage Action for America, the group's political arm, wrote
“The legislation would severely
undermine civil liberties, increase government interference in the
labor market, and trample on religious liberty. It is flawed public
policy based in part on the tenuously defined term 'gender identity,'
which is commonly understood to be subjective, self-disclosed, and
In rejecting the bill, the group cited
Review op-ed written Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon
fellow in Religion and a Free Society at The Heritage Foundation and
a vocal opponent of gay marriage.
“Some defenders of the bill reply by
saying that sexual orientation and gender identity are just like
race, and thus deserve similar federal protections,” Anderson
wrote. “But this analogy is false. Jim Crow laws represent
pervasive, onerous, and legally enshrined obstacles to employment
based on race.”
“What's more, while race is usually
readily apparent, the groups seeking special status in ENDA aren't
defined by objective characteristics. Sexual orientation and gender
identity are commonly understood to be subjective, self-disclosed,
and self-defined. And unlike race, sexual orientation and gender
identity are usually understood to include behaviors.”
Heritage Action concluded with a
warning to Republican Senators: “Heritage Action opposes ENDA and
will include it as a vote on our legislative scorecard.”