Tony Perkins is waging war on ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he will co-sponsor. ENDA, ore similar legislation, has been introduced in every Congress except one in some form or another since 1974 — that’s almost four decades. It would finally make firing someone for being LGBT against the law. And Perkins, head of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, just cannot stand the thought that gay people couldn’t be fired for being gay. While it’s illegal to fire, say, Tony Perkins for being a Christian or a person over 40, and it’s illegal to fire anyone for the color of their skin or their heritage, sadly, today, in the vast majority of states across our nation, LGBT people can be fired merely for being LGBT.
Calling ENDA “a sweeping proposal that could destroy personal freedom in the American workplace,” Perkins tells his followers “the bill itself discriminates against men and women who oppose cross-dressing or blatant homosexuality on the job.”
While not explaining exactly what “cross-dressing or blatant homosexuality” are, Perkins wrongly states “ENDA creates special employment protections solely on the basis of a person’s sexual preferences.”
Those “special protections” Perkins is claiming?
In reality, being LGBT is a fact of birth — people are born LGBT — while being a Christian, or Catholic, or Muslim, or any faith at all is a choice. The First Amendment provides “special protections” for the choice people make to believe a certain way, so why shouldn’t we have a law to protect people from discrimination based on a fact of birth, as we do for most minority statuses?
Perkins quotes his own Peter Sprigg — the man who single-handedly contributed most to the Family Research Council landing on the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s anti-gay hate list — who claims that “the most fundamental standard of all” in the workplace is “that people be dressed in a way appropriate for their biological sex!”
When did America’s workplaces become fashion houses focused not on the quality of one’s work but the shape of one’s clothing?
As a business executive who has hired literally thousands of people across my quarter-century career working for some of America’s most-recognizable brand names, not once did I ever think the most fundamental standard of all in the workplace is that people be dressed in a way appropriate for their biological sex. Rather, I, and my managers up and down the chain, examined an employee’s productivity and ability to do a job and grow with an organization — not what they were wearing.
Sen. Jeff Merkley’s (D-Ore.) version doesn’t include an exemption for bathrooms, which means that employers at daycares, public schools, and Christian businesses would all have to change their restroom and shower policies to accommodate men who dress like women and vice-versa. Can you imagine walking into your daughter’s classroom and seeing her teacher dressed in drag — or that same man using the ladies restroom with female students? Apparently Senate liberals can.
The fact is that in this matter, Tony Perkins and Marco Rubio are in the minority. The vast majority of Americans don’t think that anyone should be fired for being gay — 73 percent, actually — and what’s more is most Americans already believe that ENDA is the law.
Sadly, it is not.
“Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.),” Perkins writes, “challenged the wisdom of such a policy in a statement last week. ‘By and large, I think all Americans should be protected,’ he said, ‘but I’m not for any special protections based on sexual orientation.’ Kudos to Senator Rubio for recognizing that this bill would be just another government club to beat businesses with. It wasn’t too long ago that homosexual activists said they just wanted ‘to get the government out of their bedroom.’ Now we know why: they want to put their bedroom in the workplace!”
To Tony Perkins, being Christian is a birthright, but being gay is a choice. He thinks he can slander good men and women of conscience by labeling us “intolerant,” “hateful,” “vile,” “spiteful,” and claiming “it’s a fact” that homosexuality leads to “eternal damnation.”
The real fact is that the days of intolerance by people like Tony Perkins are numbered.
Perkins rarely if ever offers any facts to support his claims. Dozens and dozens of municipalities, including some state governments, have enacted legislation similar to ENDA, protecting LGBT people from the kind of discrimination Tony Perkins thinks some American citizens don’t deserve. And yet, he doesn’t point to any cases showing that these protections have harmed American citizens.
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