HOME > NEWSROOM > ARTICLES > ENDA Vote Likely Soon in Senate

ENDA Vote Likely Soon in Senate

A top LGBT priority appears likely to get a Senate vote in the next several weeks. Already 56 Senators have publicly expressed support for The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S.815), commonly known as ENDA, and activists are working in a number of states, including Arkansas, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, to sway enough votes to clear the 60-vote hurdle often in place in the Senate for controversial bills. 

When this bill advanced out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee by a 15-7 vote in July, NRB quickly cautioned Senators that the Committee neglected to address a significant constitutional problem with the bill – namely, ENDA does not uphold the First Amendment freedoms of religious organizations.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), former NRB President & CEO Dr. Frank Wright declared, “A right engraved in the Constitution, in the very First Amendment, must not be treated lightly. Ambiguity regarding the rights of religious organizations is likely to stir litigation and to put a chill on one of our nation’s keystone liberties. I urge you not to advance ENDA given this concern.”

Last year, NRB Senior Vice President & General Counsel Craig Parshall outlined NRB’s religious freedom concerns with ENDA in formal testimony before the Senate HELP Committee:

We oppose [ENDA] because… (1) it generally illustrates the kind of unaccommodating approach to religious organizations that was recently rejected by a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court; (2) the insufficient “religious exemption” provisions of this bill would permit a substantial and unconstitutional burden to be placed on religious organizations; and (3) court decisions dealing with “gender identity” type employment discrimination claims indicate that a legal remedy is already available for such claims under existing Title VII law, also subsuming within them numerous “sexual orientation” claims as well.

When ENDA was re-introduced earlier this year, Mr. Parshall asserted, “The current version of ENDA contains the same convoluted, so-called religious exemption language, as in prior years, and that language is an open invitation for endless litigation and paltry protection for religious employers.”

NRB is continuing its outreach to Senate offices regarding the First Amendment problems with ENDA.

  • Find NRB’s press release and letter to Senate Leaders regarding the advancement of ENDA.
  • Learn more details about NRB’s religious freedom concerns with ENDA.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: October 25, 2013

Latest News

NRB President Supports Senator Cruz on Israel Following IDC Event

Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, sent a letter today to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) following the disrespectful treatment he received for expressing solidarity with Israel at a recent “In Defense of Christians” event.

NRB Speaks Out for First Amendment Rights

NRB could not be silent this week in the face of a serious threat to the Bill of Rights being considered by the U.S. Senate.

Rep. Frank Wolf Receives NRB Faith & Freedom Award

At its annual President’s Council Capitol Hill Media Summit this week, NRB presented the 2014 Faith & Freedom Award to Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA).

FCC Oversight Hearing Next Week

Next week, a House panel will conduct an oversight hearing on the FCC, specifically attending to management and spending at the agency.

Former FCC Commissioner Joins New Firm

Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell (R) this week transitioned from the Hudson Institute to the Washington law firm Wiley Rein.

NRB Congratulates 2014 CMB Award Winners

Three NRB members were recognized with awards from Christian Music Broadcasters (CMB) last week during the annual CMB Networking Dinner held at Momentum 2014.

Reach Thousands of Christian Communicators: Sponsor or Promote at the NRB15 Convention

NRB's International Christian Media Convention represents the world’s largest gathering of Christian communicators and offers organizations unique opportunities to reach thousands of media and ministry professionals.

Pacific Garden Mission Debuts TV Series on TLN

Pacific Garden Mission (PGM), the oldest, continuously-operating, Gospel rescue mission in the country, has begun airing its own show on Total Living Network (TLN).

'Moms’ Night Out' Now Out on DVD

The endearing true-to-life family comedy Moms' Night Out was released on DVD and Blu-ray last week and has been touted as a “must have” for fans of faith-based movies.

NRB to Hold Internet Freedom Panel

A former FCC Commissioner and a top executive from Amazon will be featured in a panel event next week being held by NRB in Washington, DC.

More News