By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The U.S. Bishops have sent a letter to Congress expressing their opposition to the federal Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), a bill which they say poses serious danger to marriage and will trample on the rights of those who speak the truth about homosexuality.
LifeSiteNews.com is reporting that the May 19 letter, which was obtained by the Jesuit-run publication, America, the bishops say their concerns over the bill are so serious that they cannot maintain their previous position of neutrality.
The bishops contend that the current version of the bill (H.R. 3017 and S. 1584) poses serious danger to marriage, religious liberty, privacy, the right to speak the truth about homosexuality in the public square, the rights of employers to act “consistent with that truth,” and the right of individuals to associate freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The bishops also let lawmakers know that they understand the strategy being used by proponents of same-sex marriage to pass laws such as ENDA that will lay the groundwork for building a federal constitutional right to same-sex “marriage.”
“These rulings also reflect a legal strategy that gay rights advocates have repeatedly and publicly explained in scholarly articles and other media — first, secure the passage of sexual orientation antidiscrimination laws, such as ENDA, and then invoke the principle embedded within those laws as a basis for same-sex ‘marriage,’” the letter states.
“If this strategy were to succeed, it would represent a legal and moral disaster comparable in many ways to Roe v. Wade. As leaders of the Catholic Church, we have a moral obligation to oppose any law that would clearly contribute to this outcome,” they declared.
“In contrast to sexual conduct within marriage between one man and one woman — which does serve both the good of each married person and the good of society — heterosexual and homosexual conduct outside of marriage has no claim to special protection by the state.”
They also made it clear that granting the Church a religious exemption would not change their opposition to the bill because “recent experience” has taught them that Title VII prohibitions on religious discrimination do not extend to all religious employers and even covered institutions like the Church “may face government retaliation.”
LifeSite reports that the letter “strongly” stresses the fact that ENDA would jeopardize the right to teach the truth about homosexuality – and for employers to act in accord with that truth – with the “threat of government sanction.”
“We recognize that no one should be an object of scorn, hatred, or violence for any reason, including sexual inclination,” the letter said. This right comes from the revelation that all persons are “created in the image and likeness of God” and therefore “possess an innate human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected, by other persons and by law,” they said.
The letter concluded by saying that the USCCB could never support ENDA, but was open to “further discussion” on developing legislation protecting those with homosexual inclinations “from unjust discrimination, without protecting homosexual conduct.”
The letter was sent under the signatures of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage; Bishop William Murphy, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; and Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., Chairman of the Committee on Doctrine.
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