Gay people “contradict” the “very most deeply held religious beliefs” of employers, U.S. Senator Dan Coats, Republican of Indiana, said on the floor of the Senate today, just before the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was passed. He voted against the bill. Coats was the only Republican to speak against the bill. Ten Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for ENDA.
Coats is a member of right-wing Christian organization The Family, also known as the Fellowship, which has ties to Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” bill. He and his wife founded the faith-based non-profit, Foundation For American Renewal, which claims to be “considered by many to be the forerunner to President Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.”
Urging his colleagues to vote against ENDA, Coats said the legislation “raises very serious concerns regarding religious freedom” and decried the “so-called protections” of religious liberty as “vaguely defined.” He lamented the religious exemptions “do not extend to all organizations that wish to adhere to their moral or religious beliefs in their hiring practices.”
“For example, the religious beliefs of faith-based child care providers and small business owners would be disregarded under this legislation. Faith-based daycare providers could be forced to hire individuals with views contrary to the faith incorporated values of the daycare providers.”
“Do we want to support policies that discriminate against an employer’s religious beliefs and require employers to hire individuals who contradict their very most deeply held religious beliefs?” Coats asked. “This bill also would allow employers to be held liable to workplace environment complaints opening the door to the silencing of employees who express their deeply held beliefs. This possibility runs counter to everything America stands for in the realm of free speech.”
Coats, who is 70 and had served as the United States Ambassador to Germany under President George W. Bush, is under the impression that LGBT people should be fired — or not hired — merely for being born LGBT, and that people who choose a particular religion and choose to belief in a certain way should be “protected.” Coats, the author of Mending Fences, apparently believes that both companies and employees should have the “right” to call LGBT people “sinners,” for example, and to tell them — as a condition of their continued employment — that they will go to hell, just for being born a certain way. And Coats believes that this is “everything America stands for in the realm of free speech.”
Hat tip: Talking Points Memo
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