Sen. Portman Wary on ENDA, LGBT Immigration Rights Bills

Rob Portman explained his views on immigration equality and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act at an event Monday night.

BY Michelle Garcia

May 07 2013 1:50 PM ET

Republican Sen. Rob Portman may support marriage equality after his son came out to him as gay, but he is not completely sold on the current form of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit companies from discriminating against LGBT employees.

"I totally support the concept," he said Monday at an event hosted by Buzzfeed. "This is about discrimination in the workplace. And there should be no discrimination and there ought to be a law in place, in my view.”

However, the Ohio politician said the current form of the bill would make businesses vulnerable to potential lawsuits or other impositions, according to Roll Call.

Portman said the law may limit religious freedom, which he said is a notable concern with any potential LGBT rights legislation.

"I'm also a strong believer in religious freedom, and I think an entity that has certain religious tenets should not be required to change those tenets because of this law or others," he said. 

ENDA was recently reintroduced to Congress last month, but as Roll Call reports, the current form of ENDA does, in fact, have an exemption for religious organizations.

At the same event, Portman said immigration policies for same-sex couples should also be dictated by state marriage equality laws on marriage equality rights. Portman said he opposes the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, but added that passing a law like the Uniting American Families Act, which would give same-sex couples the same immigration sponsorship rights as heterosexual couples, might not be best. He did not, however, say he opposed the proposed law. Instead, Portman said DOMA should be repealed, so that the federal government will have a more direct way of recognizing same-sex couple's state-sanctioned marriages or legal partnerships, and allow those couples to sponsor each other as citizens.

Tags: Politics

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