NPR practiced its typical Inevitable Gay Progress bias on Tuesday’s Morning Edition. By a vote of 61-30, the Senate voted to proceed on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would allow LGBT activists to file lawsuits if they felt they were fired or weren’t hired or promoted on the grounds of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”
Congressional correspondent David Welna piled up five soundbites in favor of the “common sense” gay agenda (including two liberal Republicans), and “balanced” that by relaying one perfunctory sentence from Speaker John Boehner. Not one social conservative could be found in all of Washington, and there was no mention of religious freedom being crushed:
DAVID WELNA: Maine Republican Susan Collins is co-sponsoring the bill, after voting nearly three years ago to roll back the ban on openly gay service members.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS: I would say that just as the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" has been implemented quite smoothly, that we will see ENDA implemented smoothly as well, if we stand up, do what is right, and pass this bill.
WELNA: Not one senator spoke on the Senate floor against the bill. Illinois Republican Mark Kirk rose for his first speech there since suffering a major stroke nearly two years ago, because, he said, he believed so passionately in enacting ENDA.
SEN. MARK KIRK: I think it's particularly appropriate for an Illinois Republican to speak on behalf of this measure, in the true tradition of Everett McKinley Dirksen and Abraham Lincoln, men who gave us the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
So for every libreral who squonks it’s wacky to compare Obamacare to slavery? Mark Kirk is comparing the right to be a transvestite in the workplace to the end of slavery. On it went:
WELNA: Also in favor was Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who one year ago became the first openly gay person ever elected to the Senate.
SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN: I realize that for some this is not an easy vote. I understand for some, they may believe that it's not good politics. But I want to say that I have a deep respect for those who choose to stand on the side of progress for our country this week.
WELNA: The one Republican who did publicly oppose ENDA yesterday was House Speaker John Boehner. His spokesman issued a statement saying Boehner believed the legislation would lead to frivolous lawsuits and cost jobs. Wisconsin's Baldwin, who last served in the House, later said she's sure ENDA has enough support there.
BALDWIN: I just think if it got an up or down vote, it would pass. So then the question is, how do you get it to the floor to receive that up or down vote?
WELNA: Boehner has shown no inclination to bring up that bill. But Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign, which lobbies for gay rights, says the speaker is bucking a tide of public opinion that's turned solidly in favor of ENDA.
FRED SAINZ: This issue's changing very, very rapidly, and what we've seen just over the course of the last few years is that Americans from all walks of life support basic common sense workplace protections.
WELNA: Last night the White House issued a statement saying President Obama welcomed what he called the Senate's bipartisan first step towards final passage of ENDA. David Welna, NPR News.
NPR likes it when opinion’s changing “very, very rapidly” to the Left, and they don’t want to ruin that by letting conservatives speak on a taxpayer-subsidized radio network.
For the other point of view, which begins with the principle that the Obama administration doesn’t recognize any freedom of religious conviction outside church walls, see the Family Research Council.
If Democrats are serious about ENDA, they should call it what it is: a club to beat small business and Christian employers into submission on homosexuality. At this point, there's no guarantee that the Senate will even offer the fig leaf of "religious exemptions" that would supposedly protect faith-based organizations. Instead, they seem content to follow the ObamaCare model of forced conformity -- or punishment. (A model they're now fighting in 75 separate lawsuits.)
Unfortunately, a handful of spineless Republicans seem intent on pushing ENDA across the finish line in a pathetic attempt to look broad-minded. The irony, as even CATO's Walter Olson points out, is that they're doing so at the expense of the freedom they say they support. "Some GOP supporters in Congress, for example, seem to be tempted by ENDA as an 'easy,' crowd-pleasing vote to show they're not always on the anti-gay side. But consider the implication: lawmakers who take this path come across as willing to sacrifice the freedom of private actors -- as libertarians recognize, every expansion of laws against private discrimination shrinks the freedom of association of the governed -- even as they go to the mat to preserve disparate treatment by the government itself in the recognition of family relationships. Sorry, but that's upside-down."
For their report on ENDA as a threat to free markets and religious liberty, see here.