Homosexual-rights activists declared that the reintroduction in the House of Representatives this year of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) contained nothing for evangelicals to fear. However, evangelical leaders believe the bill, introduced in both the House and the Senate in June and referred to subcommittees, is the first step toward requiring Christians to violate principles in the name of employment rights.
"It's time to stop the type of discrimination that prevents people from getting jobs or promotions or raises because of their sexual orientation," says Rep. Thomas Barrett (D-Wis.). Cosponsors are Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Chris Shays (D-Conn.). "People who are or are perceived to be gay are still denied employment opportunity." This is the third attempt at ENDA legislation in four years (CT, June 15, 1998, p. 10).
David C. Smith, communications director of the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual-rights group in Washing ton, D.C., notes that the bill exempts "churches and religious institutions." However, Smith concedes that "if it's a for-profit enterprise, with employees of 15 or more, it would fall under the jurisdiction of the bill and the employer could not discriminate."
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