Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Friday, November 09, 2007

For conservatives the “perceived” ENDA is near.

On Wednesday the House passed sweeping legislation on employment discrimination.

Honestly, I’m happy that this legislation has passed the first hurtle to becoming law, but I really didn’t think of blogging on it until after I posted a comment on American Papists’ blog and seeing the responses that followed.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007 is comprehensive legislation that prohibits the discriminatory hiring or firing of persons based on sexual orientation whether known or “perceived.” Many conservatives decry that this legislation will give license to activist judges to allow gay marriage and will impugn upon the rights of religious organizations.

Let me respond to both arguments by pasting here appropriate language from the Legislation itself.

In regards to impugning the rights of religious organizations:

(a) In General- This Act shall not apply to any of the employment practices of a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society which has as its primary purpose religious ritual or worship or the teaching or spreading of religious doctrine or belief.
(b) Certain Employees- For any religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society that is not wholly exempt under subsection (a), this Act shall not apply with respect to the employment of individuals whose primary duties consist of teaching or spreading religious doctrine or belief, religious governance, supervision of a religious order, supervision of persons teaching or spreading religious doctrine or belief, or supervision or participation in religious ritual or worship.
(c) Conformity to Religious Tenets- Under this Act, a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society may require that applicants for, and employees in, similar positions conform to those religious tenets that such corporation, association, institution, or society declares significant. Under this Act, such a declaration by a religious corporation, association, educational institution or society stating which of its religious tenets are significant shall not be subject to judicial or administrative review. Any such declaration made for purposes of this Act shall be admissible only for proceedings under this Act. (emphasis added)

If anything this legislation opens the doors for entities like Catholic Charities to retake their fight against being ordered to pay for contraceptives. But what about marriage you say?

(5) ACTIONS CONDITIONED ON MARRIAGE- Notwithstanding section 4(g), an unlawful employment practice under section 4 shall include an action described in that section that is conditioned, in a State in which a person cannot marry a person of the same sex, either on being married or being eligible to marry.
(b) Employee Benefits- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require a covered entity to treat a couple who are not married, including a same-sex couple who are not married, in the same manner as the covered entity treats a married couple for purposes of employee benefits. Notwithstanding this Act or any other provision of law, a State or political subdivision of a State may establish rights, remedies, or procedures for the provision of employee benefits to an individual for the benefit of the domestic partner of such individual.

Ah, so the language of the legislation specifically excludes the right for a gay person to sue the state for partner benefits, marriage rights etc, etc.

So what’s the big deal, why are conservatives up in arms? After all according to some sources the White House had a say in part of the language of the bill in order to protect both religious institutions and marriage. Even now the Bush administration isn’t planning on Vetoing the Bill based on the arguments given by most conservative Pundits and Religious Right Leaders but rather they say “it would be too burdensome on businesses and that it would lead to too much litigation — [which echoes the position] given by opponents of every previous civil rights bill to pass Congress in the past 50 years or so.”

I’ve already found in searching the blogosphere and news wires that most of the voice of opposition in congress are from persons whose coffers are filled from Religious Leaders and that the majority of “conservative” Americans haven’t taken the time to read the actual text of the legislation but are quick to subscribe to the bloviating from the Pulpit and the Pundits and take up arms. (see the comments from the American Papist Post for examples).

I don’t know, it seems to me that at this point conservatives if not appealing to Non Sequiturs at the most are grasping straws at the least in opposition of this bill.

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1 comment:

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