HOME > NEWSROOM > ARTICLES > NRB Cautions as ENDA Advances

NRB Cautions as ENDA Advances

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S.815), commonly known as ENDA, advanced out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee after a 15-7 vote this week. However, NRB quickly cautioned Senators that the Committee neglected to address a significant constitutional problem with the bill. Specifically, NRB President & CEO Dr. Frank Wright highlighted that ENDA does not uphold the First Amendment freedoms of religious organizations.

“A right engraved in the Constitution, in the very First Amendment, must not be treated lightly,” stated Dr. Wright in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “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 in May, 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.”

All 12 Democrats on the Senate HELP Committee voted for ENDA, as did Republican Senators Mark Kirk (IL), Orrin Hatch (UT), and Lisa Murkowski (AK). The addition of Senators Hatch and Murkowski as supporters of the bill brings the total to 56 Senators publicly in favor of it. Only three Democrat Senators have not yet cosponsored the bill: Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Mark Pryor (D-AR). Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) indicated his hope that ENDA will be brought to the Senate Floor for a vote this coming autumn. 

  • 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.
  • Watch the Committee vote on ENDA

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: July 12, 2013

Latest News

FEC Commissioner Casts Eye on Internet

Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, spoke out this week against what appears to be a Federal Elections Commission (FEC) leader’s interest in increased government control over speech on the Internet. He indicated that this is part of a troubling pattern.

Praying for the Persecuted in November

Many Christians will join in prayer this weekend for persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide as they honor the annual International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

NRB Spearheads ‘Get Out the Vote’ PSA Campaign

NRB has initiated a “Get Out the Vote” campaign to encourage Christians across America to cast their votes in the upcoming election, which could prove to be one of the most crucial in our nation’s history.

UN Telecom Agency Elects New Leader

Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, spoke out this week against what appears to be a Federal Elections Commission (FEC) leader’s interest in increased government control over speech on the Internet. He indicated that this is part of a troubling pattern.

Spread the Word: NRB Convention Welcomes First-Timers with $400 Discount

Did you know that those who attend the NRB Convention for the first time will receive a $200 discount on the convention registration fee? Add that to the $200 discount that comes with registering before November 15 and that is a total saving of $400!

‘I Stand Sunday’ Participants to Rally Behind Houston Pastors, Churches

Christians across America will participate in “I Stand Sunday” on November 2.

Christian Filmmakers: Pitch Your Story to Distributors at NRB15!

Do you have a story, script, or even a finished product? Want to pitch it straight to a Christian distribution company? What if we packed the distributors all in one room, and you could pitch them individually – one on one?

Cornerstone Network Partners with 30+ Churches to Bring the New 'Pittsburgh Faith and Family' Channel

Cornerstone Network recently announced the launch of its new television affiliate, Pittsburgh Faith and Family Channel (over-the-air channel 40.2).

Ka You Communications Wins Worship Facilities New Product Award

Missions-focused satellite services company Ka You Communications was honored earlier this month with the 2014 Worship Facilities New Product Award for “Best Overall Media and Communication Product.”

Joni Eareckson Tada Presented with the First True Woman Award

Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, received a special honor earlier this month at the True Woman 2014 National Women's Conference.

More News