By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com November 06 2013 7:28 PM ET
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposes “unjust discrimination,” but it also opposes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, according to a letter the group sent to the U.S. Senate.
The conference, which speaks for the Roman Catholic Church on public policy matters, sent the letter last week, saying ENDA “rejects the biological basis of gender,” “threatens religious liberty,” affirms and supports sex outside marriage, and could be used to support same-sex marriage rights — many of the typical complaints about LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination laws.
The conference also objects to ENDA’s lack of a “bona fide occupational qualification” exemption, which it says is necessary “for those cases where it is neither unjust nor inappropriate to consider an applicant’s sexual inclination.”
The letter was signed by Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, all of whom chair conference committees or subcommittees. It can be viewed on the conference’s website.
ENDA would prohibit job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Senate took a cloture vote Monday to prevent a filibuster on the bill, and it is likely to vote Thursday on whether to pass the measure. The Senate will probably approve ENDA, but there is more opposition to the measure in the House of Representatives.