The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have recently issued a letter outlining their opposition to Senate Bill 815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA), because it “does not justly advance the dignity of all workers and authentic non-discrimination.”
ENDA, which is designed to prevent employee discrimination on the basis of an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, was recently passed by the U.S. Senate and now will go to the U.S. House of Representatives, according to Congress.gov. It is widely believed that the bill will not pass in the House, and, according to a report in the Politico, Speaker Boehner has said that he opposes the bill.
While the bishops oppose unjust discrimination in the workplace, they cannot support ENDA for a number of reasons, including that the bill supports a redefinition of marriage and rejects the biological basis of gender. The bill also threatens religious liberty and “could be used to punish as discrimination what many religions—including the Catholic religion—teach, particularly moral teaching about same-sex sexual conduct.”
If passed by the House, the bill could have a very debilitating effect on Catholic schools hiring and firing practices, which rely on “mission-fit” teachers as essential to sustaining the school’s Catholic identity. In Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Supreme Court decided that churches and religious groups should be free to choose their leaders without government interference, according to The New York Times.
Yet, Catholic Education Daily reported this past September about a New York judge’s ruling against a Catholic high school that fired a teacher who had “changed” gender during the year.
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