Fox News continues to push myths about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), baselessly claiming it will undermine religious freedom. In fact, ENDA contains explicit language providing for an exemption for religious organizations from the law.
ENDA, introduced in Congress by a bipartisan group of senators and scheduled for a Senate vote as early as next week, would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. An overwhelming majority of Americans support the law, including a majority of Republicans, Catholics, and senior citizens. Small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike support policies protecting LGBT employees.
On the October 30 edition of Fox News' Special Report, host Bret Baier introduced a segment on ENDA and stoked fears that it could endanger religious freedom, saying, "some people want religious freedom to take a backseat to another kind of freedom":
Correspondent Shannon Bream shrugged off the fact that ENDA includes exemptions for religious organizations and instead pointed to "skeptics" who are unconvinced by "the bill's language on religious exemptions." In fact, ENDA's language on religious exemptions is clear:
SEC. 6. EXEMPTION FOR RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS.
This Act shall not apply to a corporation, association, educational institution or institution of learning, or society that is exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 pursuant (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.) to section 702(a) or 703(e)(2) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1(a), 2000e-2(e)(2)). [S.815, Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013, accessed 10/30/13]
Baier ended the segment by asking his audience: "Do you think businesses should be forced to hire people whose beliefs conflict with that company's goals?"