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Administration Does END-A Run around Law

By Tony Perkins

Desperate to shift attention away from their poor policy record in the run-up to elections this fall, Democrats continue their push for House passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) — a law designed to create special protections for the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity at the expense of the freedoms of association, speech, and religion. While prospects for passage in the House are bleak, the administration has begun moving ahead on its own to advance a radical new understanding of sexuality in the law.

Most recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an administrative agency charged with enforcing federal employment non-discrimination laws, has filed two lawsuits against businesses in Florida and Michigan charging that a funeral home operator and an eye clinic discriminated against their respective transgender employees by ending their employment as the employees began to transition to the opposite sex.

Since ENDA is not law, the EEOC is relying on a prior agency ruling from 2012 as their legal basis for suing these private business owners. That ruling interpreted the current civil rights protections banning discrimination on the basis of sex — something no one questions — as also now including a prohibition on discrimination on the basis of gender identity or gender stereotyping. The EEOC’s interpretation — and announcement of their inaugural enforcement efforts — reveal the very real costs associated with redefining sex in law.

Congress has repeatedly declined to amend civil rights law to include the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity — for good reason. The American people and many of their representatives continue to recognize that the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity are fundamentally distinct from sex. Furthermore, they and we recognize that mandating special protections for individuals based on their self-determined sense of gender sacrifices the ability of faith communities, family business owners, and organizations to operate according to what is best for their entities and in accordance with their consciences. While the administration moves forward in applying the principles of ENDA in agency rulings and decisions, we remain committed to stopping Congress from passing this sweeping, anti-freedom legislation.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)


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