- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gay-rights groups frustrated with the slow pace of Congress and energized by the recent gains in same-sex marriage laws have turned to the private sector for help in pushing their agenda, targeting the corporations with the biggest punch — the Fortune 500s.

The aim is to get big business to help drive anti-discrimination legislation that offers workplace protections for sexual orientation or sexual identity into speedy law. So far, Dow Chemical Co., Marriott International and Procter & Gamble have all backed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, already sailing through the Senate with nonpartisan support, The Hill reported. But Republicans in the House are more hesitant — thus, the reach-out to corporate America.

House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman, for instance, said ENDA would “increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs,” The Hill reported.

But businesses are bucking that line of logic.

“We believe that this strategy of businesses joining together to make the case has been a successful one to date,” said Bryan McCleary, Procter & Gamble’s spokesman, in The Hill. And gay-rights advocates are welcoming the legislative assistance.

“Government is finally catching up to where the private sector has been for years,” said Jeff Cook-McCormac, a senior adviser to the gay-rights group, American Unity Fund, in The Hill. “It enables companies to attract the most talented workforce and allows their employees to not have to worry about discrimination.”

But family rights groups, like the Family Research Council, aren’t enamored with the bill, which they see as a trouncing of traditional beliefs.

Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at FRC, called ENDA in The Hill a “threat to religious liberty and an attack on traditional values.”

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