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Senate Vote: 232     Vote Date: Nov 7th, 2013

Issue: S. 815 Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA). A bill to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Result: Passed 64 to 32, 4 not voting. GOP and Democrats scored.

Bill Summary: ENDA prohibits covered entities (employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, or joint labor-management committees) from engaging in employment discrimination on the basis of an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

ENDA defines non-covered entities, for which the non-discrimination provisions of the Act do not apply, as corporations, associations, educational institutions or institutions of learning, or societies exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (thereby establishing a religious employer’s exemption). 

Analysis: The same day’s Washington Post called the Senate’s passage of ENDA historic, noting:

“The effort to protect gays and lesbians in the workplace began nearly 17 years ago, and supporters have struggled for years to earn a vote on the measure in the House or Senate.”

         As expected, the Post accepted the revolution at face value, while ignoring the organization and real agenda driving the culture war: “In a sign of rapidly shifting opinions on gay rights, every member of the Senate Democratic caucus was joined by 10 Republican senators to approve the measure. The first time the Senate voted on a measure similar to ENDA, in 1996, Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) voted no. On Thursday they voted yes.”

However, the revolutionaries in the culture war are never satisfied. They view each victory as merely another step toward a complete transformation of society. In a press release, the ACLU stated:

“While passage of ENDA is critical for LGBT people across the country, the legislation’s current, sweeping religious exemption must be narrowed. ENDA’s religious exemption could provide religiously affiliated organizations — far beyond houses of worship — with a blank check to engage in employment discrimination against LGBT people.”

In reality, the revolutionary ENDA attack has nothing to do with protecting the rights of “LGBT people.” And a battle over its exemptions will not mute the culture war.

With their victory in the Senate, the pro-ENDA forces didn’t wait long to crank up the pressure on the House. That same day, 10 cosponsors of companion legislation in the House, H.R. 1755, signed a public letter to Speaker John Boehner urging him “to bring this timely and commonsense legislation to a vote before the House of Representatives before the end of the 113th Congress.”

There are currently 200 cosigners of the companion House legislation, comprised of all but a dozen or so members of the Democratic delegation plus a handful of Republicans.

Among the ten signers of the November 7th letter to Boehner (and cosponsors of the House legislation) were the following 5 Republicans: Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Richard Hanna of New York, Jon Runyan of New Jersey and Chris Gibson of New York.

Prior to the Senate vote, House Speaker John Boehner had objected to ENDA, claiming it would lead to a rash of frivolous lawsuits. His claim is certainly valid. However, arguing the issues raised by the revolutionaries at face value won’t even slow down the culture war.

Revolutionary leaders expect public resistance. Their ability to overcome that resistance is aided immeasurably by false leadership that respects the playing field mapped out by the revolutionaries, limits its opposition to debating “the issues,” and even caves into the pressure at an opportune moment.

The ENDA campaign has no real public support. However, the influential revolutionary minority strives to represent itself as reflecting the evolving opinion of the forward-thinking public. This contrived pressure from below allows the Establishment-controlled media to claim a shift in public attitudes.

Tragically, the Constitution’s limits on federal power are totally ignored in the public and political “debate” over ENDA. America desperately needs congressmen who will defend those limits.

And that means refusing to accept the perversion of the Interstate Commerce Clause that occurred during and after the FDR administration to justify federally mandated labor “reforms.” The federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate employer-employee relations, including employment discrimination or even the establishment of a federally mandated minimum wage.

We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)