Traditional Values Coalition: ENDA Would "Normalize" The "Dirty 30"

April 09, 2010 1:19 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

The religious right is escalating its campaign against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that "would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."

Last month, the Traditional Values Coalition launched ENDAHurtsKids.com, a website devoted to convincing parents that ENDA will harm their children.  Under the bill, the site warns, "your children will be trapped in classes taught by drag queens" and "forced to learn about bizarre sexual fetishes." As Media Matters Action has noted, these scary claims are blatantly false. 

But the group was back at it yesterday, charging that ENDA would "normalize" the "Dirty 30" -- which the Traditional Values Coalition describes as "bizarre sexual orientations listed by the American Psychiatric Association." Here's a small selection from the list:

Apotemnophilia - sexual arousal associated with the stump(s) of an amputee

Hypephilia - a sexual attraction to fabrics

Toucherism - characterized by a strong desire to touch the breast or genitals of an unknown woman without her consent

The "Dirty 30" also includes criminal acts, such as pedophilia, incest, and bestiality.  

Despite the Traditional Values Coalition's allegations, none of these behaviors actually fall under the American Psychiatric Association's definition of sexual orientation -- which refers only to people who are heterosexual, gay/lesbian, or bisexual.  (Read a longer discussion of sexual orientation here.)

More to the point, the bill itself is absolutely clear on what constitutes sexual orientation:

(9) SEXUAL ORIENTATION- The term 'sexual orientation' means homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality. 

In short, the assertion that ENDA would offer blanket protection for the behaviors listed in the "Dirty 30" is totally wrong.  Without a legitimate argument for allowing discrimination, the Traditional Values Coalition is simply fear-mongering about a bill that extends basic rights to people they don't like. 

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