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Faith & Freedom Coalition to U.S. Senate: Reject Special Rights Based on Sexual Orientation

Dear Senator: Since 1964, the Civil Rights Act has safeguarded Americans from discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or national origin. Over the last several decades, non-discrimination policy has widened to give every American equal opportunity in the workplace. However, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) goes far beyond this policy and threatens the privacy and religious liberties of Americans. Making it unlawful for an organization with fifteen or more employees to “fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual…because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity” is harmful to the foundations of free enterprise and small businesses.  ENDA is simply not sound public policy, defining discrimination based on subjective perception of sexual orientation rather than externally identifiable characteristics of race and gender.  It will burden family-owned businesses with unnecessary and costly litigation, compliance costs, and risk avoidance through litigation mitigation that will divert resources from creating jobs. The religious exemption would subject many faith-based organizations, ministries and employers of faith to a federally-mandated violation of their religious liberty. The language is vague and narrowly constructed, and in the case of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has been subject to decades of litigation with conflicting rulings by the courts.  It will subject many employers of faith to violate their deeply-held religious beliefs or face stiff federal sanctions and exorbitant legal costs. Under ENDA an employee would necessarily be required to disclose their sexual preference or gender identity to enjoy the protections of the law.  This infringes on their right to privacy, undermines the purpose of the bill, and fails to protect the intrinsic dignity of the employee. We consider this legislation harmful to the family and religious liberty and we will score this vote to invoke cloture as an “anti-family” position on our Congressional Scorecard.  On behalf of Faith & Freedom Coalition’s 700,000 members and supporters, I urge you to vote ‘no” on cloture on ENDA. Thank you for your consideration of our views. Sincerely, Ralph Reed, Jr. Founder & Chairman

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