Sen. Mike Johanns says a bill seeking to end workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation failed to protect religious rights.
Johanns voted against the bill that passed the United States Senate today 64-32. Sen. Deb Fischer also voted against the bill.
The bill now moves to the House, which is expected to give it a cold reception.
Johanns says that if you asked Nebraskans if someone should face discrimination because of their sexual orientation they would reply ‘No.’
“If you ask Nebraskans another question, ‘Do you think that people who have a religious belief about this should be forced to follow a mandate of the federal government?’ I think they would push back on that much like they have pushed back on the birth control requirement,” Johanns tells Nebraska reporters during a conference call.
Johanns says the bill failed to protect First Amendment religious freedoms. Johanns says it would have been easy to attach an amendment to the bill that would have satisfied the concerns he and others expressed, but that Senate leader, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, refused to consider it.
“At the end of the day, what I see is very, very scant religious protection and I just think that’s a major deficiency in this legislation,” according to Johanns.
Johanns insists there was an easy fix available, but Senate leadership refused to consider it.
“Look, the Constitution guarantees religious rights. Why don’t we just honor those rights?”
AUDIO: Sen. Mike Johanns explains his objections to ENDA. [5:32]