WASHINGTON – A prominent pro-family leader is urging fellow conservatives to withdraw their support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney over his recent expressed support for a "sexual orientation" non-discrimination law.
Romney during an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" said he supports the contentious Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which adds "sexual orientation" to a list of federally protected classes that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
The bill upsets conservative leaders because it grants special protection to employees based on their "actual or perceived" sexual orientation. Moreover, it would force Christian organizations that oppose homosexuality to hire gay employees.
"Mitt Romney's Christmas present to the homosexual lobby disqualifies him as a pro-family leader," said Peter LaBarbera, longtime pro-family advocate and founder of the Republicans For Family Values website.
"Laws that treat homosexuality as a civil rights are being used to promote homosexual 'marriage,' same-sex adoption and pro-homosexuality indoctrination of schoolchildren," he said. "These same laws pose a direct threat to the freedom of faith-minded citizens and organizations to act on their religious belief that homosexual behavior is wrong."
The former Massachusetts governor responded on "Meet the Press" that ENDA "makes sense" at the state level. But LaBarbera warns that if Romney "openly" promotes homosexual agenda at the state level then he cannot be trusted at the federal level.
He pointed out that the state's "sexual orientation" nondiscrimination law laid the groundwork for Massachusetts legalizing gay "marriage" – the first in the country to do so.
Moreover, the ENDA-like law forced Boston's Catholic Charities to shut down its century-old adoption agency because it refused to place children in gay households against Catholic teaching.
"Given Romney's extensive pro-homosexual record and willingness now to depart from principle on this crucial issue, should we trust a 'President Romney' not to reverse course again on federal pro-homosexual laws such as 'Hate Crimes' and ENDA?" LaBarbera posed.
In addition to the homosexuality agenda, pro-family leaders have also had reservations on Romney's commitment to the abortion issue, which he only recently said he was against.
Well-known conservative leaders who have endorsed Romney include Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation; Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition; Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice; and Mark DeMoss of the PR agency DeMoss Pond.
"Now some pro-family leaders – who have raised millions of dollars over the years opposing 'gay' activism – will need to explain how they can go on supporting an openly pro-homosexual-agenda candidate," LaBarbera said.
The federal ENDA bill is opposed by Christian heavyweights such as Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr. of High Impact Leadership Coalition, Alan Sears of Alliance Defense Fund, the Rev. Rick Scarborough of Vision America, and Colin A. Hanna of Let Freedom Ring.
President George W. Bush has also indicated he intends to veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.