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 Lauds Stand for Religious Freedom in Louisiana

Legislation intended to be a preventative shield for religious freedom in advance of the coming Supreme Court decision on marriage was shelved by a committee in the Louisiana legislature this week.

Commissioner Highlights Uncertainty on Collection of Fines

While the $1 million fine given to iHeartMedia for misusing Emergency Alert System (EAS) tones was the big news out of the FCC Enforcement Bureau this week, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly had another interesting point to make about the agency’s penalties generally.

Senate Adopts Religious Freedom Measure in Trade Bill

The U.S. Senate this week adopted an amendment by U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) that would require the Executive Branch to take religious freedom into consideration when negotiating trade agreements.

House Democrats Push for More On-Air Disclosure

A number of House Democrats have co-sponsored legislation that would require the FCC to increase the amount of information revealed on-air for political ads.

InterVarsity President Alec Hill to Step Down Following Cancer Diagnosis

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship President Alec Hill has been diagnosed with myelodysplasia, a cancer of the bone marrow, and will start treatment on June 10, according to an announcement last Friday.

NRB Milestone Award Honors 50+ Years of Christian Broadcasting: Is Your Organization Eligible?

NRB members who have achieved 50 years or more of continuous broadcast ministry are eligible to be considered for the NRB Milestone Award.

NRB Members: Do You Want to Be Highlighted in NRB Today?

Luis Palau Presents Good News Message to 30+ UN Ambassadors at United Nations HQ

International evangelist Luis Palau recently presented the “good news in the city” message to more than 30 ambassadors at the United Nations during the Ambassadors’ Spring Luncheon Forum. The gathering also included several members from the UN Security Council.

Hearings Highlight Internet Governance Concerns

This week two hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives focused on the future operation and governance of the Internet.

Senate Calls for Release of American Citizens in Iran

This week the U.S. Senate approved a resolution calling for the release of several Americans being held in Iran, among them Pastor Saeed Abedini, a resident of Idaho.

More News