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CWA Asks President for Veto Pledge on ENDA

Contact: Natalie Bell, 202-488-7000 ext. 126

WASHINGTON, October 23 /Standard Newswire/ -- The full House is expected to vote on the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) this week.  This bill would codify the very thing it purports to prevent — workplace discrimination — and threaten all Americans' First Amendment rights.  For this reason, Concerned Women for America (CWA) is asking President Bush to publicly pledge to veto ENDA.

Matt Barber, CWA's Policy Director for Cultural Issues, said, "ENDA pits the government directly against religion, which is unconstitutional on its face.  It would force employers to check their First Amendment guaranteed rights to freedom of religion, speech and association at the workplace door.  It would make federal lawbreakers out of Christian, Jewish or Muslim business owners who honor their faith and would require that newfangled 'gay rights' based entirely upon individuals' sexual choices trump employers' enumerated constitutional rights.      

"ENDA contains an extremely weak religious exemption which would leave individual business owners entirely unprotected.  For any religious exemption to pass constitutional muster, it would have to follow the individual business owner.  The First Amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion.  This applies to all individual citizens, not just to a church, religious organization or corporation.  It is unconstitutional to prevent, by force of law, an individual business owner from considering his sincerely held religious beliefs while determining how to best own and operate his business.     

"ENDA would force business owners to betray their faith and adopt a view of sexual morality which directly conflicts with fundamental tenets of that faith.  It would give liberal judges the authority to subjectively determine who qualifies for an exemption.  It represents the goose that laid the golden egg for homosexual activist attorneys and would open the floodgates for lawsuits against employers who wish to live out their faith."     

Shari Rendall, CWA's Director of Legislation and Public Policy, said of ENDA, "This bill would unfairly extend special privileges based on an individual's changeable sexual behaviors rather than focusing on immutable, non-behavior characteristics such as skin color or sex.   Its passage would both overtly discriminate against and muzzle people of faith.  This bill is even more dangerous than pending 'hate crimes' legislation."    

Concerned Women for America is the nation's largest public policy women's organization.