Posted June 8, 1998
"Even as Sodom and GomorrahÖ[gave] themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the fleshÖ" (Jude 7, 8a).
On May 28, 1998, President Clinton issued an executive order to give special protection from job discrimination to homosexual federal workers. This order adds "sexual orientation" to a list of categories from an earlier executive order (#11478) by Clinton for which discrimination is illegal in the federal workplace. The other categories are race, color, religion, gender, national origin, handicaps and age.
ENDA was defeated by just one Senate vote in 1996! Read about it in this old CHPA Alert issued September 11,1996:
Pro-family activists both rejoiced and breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday after the U.S. Senate voted twice in favor of traditional values and against the homosexual-rights agenda.
The Senate first approved 85-14 the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman" for the purposes of federal law. The legislation also protects states from having to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. President Bill Clinton has said he will sign the bill in its current form.
Family Research Council (FRC) President Gary Bauer called DOMA "wise and needed legislation." "We are saying to the president, 'Eat your spinach and sign the Defense of Marriage Act as you promised," Bauer said.
Less than an hour later, the Senate voted down the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have added "sexual orientation" to federal civil-rights laws, equating homosexuality with immutable characteristics such as race, sex and ethnicity. Sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., ENDA essentially would have prevented employers from considering their moral beliefs when making hiring, management and promotion decisions.
This time, the margin was much narrower. ENDA went down to defeat on a 50-49 vote. David Pryor, D-Ark., did not vote.
"That was too close for comfort," said Robert Knight, FRC's director of cultural studies. "It's absurd--a Republican-controlled Senate in an election year came within one vote of passing a national gay-rights bill."
It may not be over yet. As of this writing, Senate leaders were concerned that ENDA supporters might try to force another vote as early as Wednesday by attaching ENDA as an amendment to a Senate appropriations bill. (Pryor, the absent senator, is a likely ENDA supporter. His vote would result in a 50-50 tie, allowing Vice President Al Gore to cast the deciding vote.) Kennedy had originally planned to attach ENDA as an amendment to DOMA, but Senate leaders worked out a deal to vote on the measures separately.
The DOMA victory was welcome news for grass-roots leaders who have spent the last six months lobbying for similar legislation at the state level. Kansas, for example, banned same-sex marriage back in April, and DOMA gives states the cover they need.
"If the federal legislation had not passed, then the Kansas bill would have been toothless," said David Payne, executive director of the Kansas Family Research Institute. "[DOMA] establishes in federal law that states have the opportunity to deter mine on their own how they want to define marriage."
Pro-family forces said the legislation is needed because Hawaii is inching ever closer to legalizing same-sex marriages. On the same day the Senate approved DOMA a trial got underway in the Hawaii Supreme Court to determine if the state will become the first to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
If the court eventually rules in their favor, homosexual partners could travel to Hawaii to get married, then request that their home states recognize their newfound marriage licenses.
DOMA's passage, however, means individuals states are no longer at the mercy of Hawaii's courts.
"The full weight of the federal government stating its support of marriage can only help efforts to defend marriage anywhere," Knight said.
*This report was broadcast earlier today by Family Issues Alert (1-800-A-FAMILY), a publication of Focus on the Family. It has been reprinted and retransmitted by CHPA with permission.
IS THIS THE END OF ENDA?
The overwhelming passage of DOMA is a grand victory for those who fear God and love His precious gift of marriage for "one man and one woman." But the close vote on ENDA speaks an URGENT WARNING TO CHRISTIANS and pro-family Americans. The pro-homosexual forces that have pressed this bill thus far will continue to press for ENDA's passage this year.
The very-possible re-election of President Clinton combined with any erosion of pro-family forces in Congress (a loss of one or both houses is possible this November) would guarantee passage for ENDA and spell disaster for America. God-fearing believers must make this election count.