Flaming Homos in Stilettos Will Destroy Christianity, and Other Things Not Likely to Happen
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, anticipating the introduction of federal LGBT employment protections in the new Congress, has decided to once again spread the lie that banning anti-gay workplace discrimination means the end of Christian liberty.
Said Fischer in a recent radio show:
Once [ENDA] goes into effect, which says that no business can discriminate against anybody no matter how bizarre their sexual perversity is, their sexual deviancy is, no matter how abnormal their sexual orientation is, you cannot take that into account in personnel decisions… [If the law goes into effect] the homosexual lobby will send a flaming homosexual into that Christian bookstore to apply for a job. They’ll send a guy in there wearing stilettos, a dress, and dangly earrings and dare the owner of that Christian bookstore not to hire him.
Watch a video of Fischer’s comments below:
The legislation Fischer is referring to is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that aims to end employment related discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. The legislation has been introduced in every Congress since 1994, with the exception of the the 109th Congress, and similar legislation has been introduced without success since 1974.
Why the legislation is yet to pass despite it being supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans is truly a testament to the scaremongering myths about ENDA, no more true than when they were first minted, and a despicable lack of political will in Congress that leaves lesbian, gay, bisexual and, in particular, transgender people incredibly vulnerable.
With that in mind, here is a rundown of what ENDA would and would not do based on the text as introduced in the 112th Congress:
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act Would:
- make it unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire or to fire any individual on grounds of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity
- make it unlawful for an employer to “limit, segregate or classify” employees or applicants on grounds of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity
- make it unlawful for any Employment Agency or Labor Organization to refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, or to discriminate for membership on grounds of LGBT identity
- make it a prohibited activity to retaliate on grounds of opposing discrimination related to perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act Would Not:
- require religious institutions or affiliated businesses to hire LGBT people because, contrary to Fischer’s assertions, there has been as a matter of course a provision in ENDA that says the Act shall not apply to a corporation, association, educational institution or society that is exempted on grounds of religious conviction
- require religious institutions to hire homosexuals wearing stilettos or any other such items of clothing as there is a clause that makes it explicitly clear a company is free to set its own grooming and dress standards, making allowances only for when employees who are transitioning genders, and even then giving power to an employer to require said employee to adhere to the same dress or grooming standards for the gender to which the employee has transitioned or is transitioning
- require businesses to construct new facilities for LGBT staff
- undermine the Defense of Marriage Act by requiring businesses to treat same-sex couples as being automatically entitled to spousal benefits
- require a covered entity to treat an unmarried couple in the same manner as married couples for purposes of employee benefits
So there we have it. Fischer’s scaremongering dispelled by, well, reading the actual objectives ENDA sets out and, crucially, its concessions.
What is interesting is that the retired (though possible interim senator) former Rep. Barney Frank had been a leading force for introducing ENDA in the House. Without Frank it remains unclear who will champion the legislation, and it will need championing because House Republicans have shown in the previous Congress that job protection for LGBT Americans isn’t a priority — Speaker Boehner once indicated he wasn’t even aware of the legislation — this despite the fact that ENDA enjoys broad support even among Republican voters and religious conservatives — just not Bryan Fischer and his ilk, it would seem.