The Catholic League raised serious questions about the consequences of ENDA in 2007, and while some aspects of the bill have improved, efforts to strengthen the religious liberty exemptions are badly needed. Senators Rob Portman and Kelly Ayotte have introduced an amendment that would prohibit federal, state and local governments from seeking reprisals against religious groups that are exempt from the law. Senator Pat Toomey wants to expand the number of groups that would qualify for an exemption. Both deserve to be passed.
Workplace discrimination against those who are not heterosexual has decreased markedly, calling into question which organizations the advocates for ENDA want to blanket. Sexual orientation, unlike race or gender, is inseparable from behavioral issues, thus drawing the attention of religious organizations. If the proponents of ENDA are sincere in their stated objective not to unfairly burden churches and religious groups, then locking in the exemptions already provided should not act as a deterrent to their support.
Americans have seen what happens when activist judges get their hands on religious liberty cases. This is all the more reason to support the amendments by Senators Portman, Ayotte and Toomey.