Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Senate Bill 660 – also known as the “Boss Bill” – which will now force all employers, including religious employers such as churches and pregnancy care centers, to hire people who oppose their beliefs and pro-life position.
According to an op-ed appearing in the New York Post, Denise Harle, legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom Center for Life, the Boss Bill compels even organizations whose mission is advocating for the dignity of life to hire persons whose beliefs and behavior about “reproductive-health decisions” run counter to their own.
“If you are a church forced to hire an administrator who doesn’t agree with your biblical and natural-law beliefs on sexuality, a Christian school ordered to hire teachers who refuse to model the school’s essential teachings, or a pregnancy-care center directed to hire people who advocate abortion, you are effectively being compelled to undermine your own reason for being — to compromise your own integrity,” Harle writes.
“Under SB 660, an employer can’t even require workers to sign a code of moral conduct. Adding insult to injury, employers are forced to include these reproductive-health rights in their employee handbooks — effectively compelling them to communicate the government’s ideological message.”
What’s worse, the bill does not define the term, “reproductive-health decision-making,” which means employers are left guessing as to what it means in terms of sexual conduct, procreation, pregnancy, contraception, surrogacy, IVF and even sexually transmitted diseases.
“New York could have provided an exemption for religious organizations, but elected officials intentionally chose not to, even though they knew the law shouldn’t be applied to such organizations under US Supreme Court precedent or under the state’s own human-rights law. That’s because the law isn’t about fighting real employment discrimination — it’s about religious targeting,” Harle said.
Even though the sponsor of the bill, state Senator Jennifer Metzger, says the law is needed to prevent employers from imposing “personal and political beliefs” on employees’ decisions about reproductive-health services, there hasn’t been a single documented case of any such discrimination in the annals of New York or any other state. When asked to produce one, Metzger and her colleagues were unable to do so.
“The only reason the Boss Bill exists is because pro-abortion officials — and Planned Parenthood, which has invested much to get them elected — want abortion rammed down the throat of people of faith and pro-life advocates. Dissent will not be tolerated — the US Constitution be hanged.”
Thankfully, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a pre-enforcement federal civil-rights action on behalf of pro-life pregnancy centers and a church, stating that the new law violates their First Amendment rights to expression association, free speech, religious autonomy and the free exercise of religion.
The case was filed on behalf of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, CompassCare Pregnancy Services, and the First Bible Baptist Church, a church in the suburb of Rochester.
The bill is, “a transparent attempt to meddle in the affairs of religious and pro-life organizations … by forcing them to employ and associate with those persons who do not share or live by the organizations’ beliefs regarding abortion, contraception, and the impropriety of sexual relations outside the context of a marriage between a man and a woman,” the plaintiffs said in the lawsuit.
“Taken together, these requirements compromise the very reason for being of these organizations, which is to promote life, oppose abortion, and teach and live a sexual ethic consistent with biblical principles.”
Even though the Boss Bill was sold as a fix to a problem, it’s a problem that doesn’t exist, and the governor, Legislature and pro-abortion activists know this.
“They simply want to eliminate the existence, or at least the effectiveness, of pro-life organizations and to punish those who dare hold certain moral beliefs,” Harle writes.
“But as the US Supreme Court made clear last year, a pro-abortion-rights state government “cannot co-opt [pro-life speakers] to deliver its message for it.” Religious groups and charities have every right to be the bosses of their own moral codes — even when the government bully hates those morals.”
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