ENDA Not the Answer, Says Aderholt
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) today voted in opposition to H.R. 3685, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007 (ENDA). Intended to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, this bill creates special rights for a certain class of people that is inconsistent with the Equal Rights provisions contained in the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The bill passed the House by a vote of 235 to 184.
Congressman Aderholt stated, “First, I think it's important to say that discrimination of any form is simply wrong and cannot be tolerated. But, legislating in this manner isn't the direction we need to go in. People should succeed based on their personal merits rather than a government imposed quota.”
Current laws under the Civil Rights Act offer sufficient protection to groups that have historically been subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex, race and ethnicity. ENDA would create a category of special rights for a specific group based on sexual orientation and forcing employers to hire a person simply to meet certain government imposed quotas rather than their merit as an individual.
“Equal protection under the law is one of our nation’s most important and enduring principles. Over the years this concept has grown and adapted as circumstances warranted, most notably with the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act in 1964,” continued Congressman Aderholt. “Creating a special class of citizens based on sexual orientation is a step that Congress does not need to take at this time.”
In addition, ENDA appears to open the door to costly litigation. The bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of imprecise and highly subjective characteristics – for example, “perceived” characteristics – that an employer may have no objective basis to refute. As drafted, the term “perceived” is vague and is not defined anywhere in this bill which will require litigation to determine what it means and how it is to be applied. Further, it represents a radical departure from the Civil Rights Act as the term is not contained in existing civil rights statute, which protects against discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.