For several years in the early 1990s, I had the privilege of serving on the staff of U.S. Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN). In 1999, Sen. Coats left the Senate, pursued other interests, served as our Ambassador to Germany, and then in 2010, was re-elected to the Senate.

Many of us who have served on the Senator's staff look back on the experience not just with fondness but pride. His integrity, moral courage, personal warmth, and commitment to principle make him an exception among national political leaders. My colleague Pat Fagan, who was on Coats' staff prior to me, and I both agreed today that we are always proud to say that we worked for Dan Coats.

Today, Sen. Coats gave an eloquent speech warning that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) "raises very serious concerns regarding religious freedom. The so-called protections from religious liberty in this bill are vaguely defined and do not extend to all organizations that wish to adhere to their moral or religious beliefs in their hiring practices. This bill also would allow employers to be held liable to workplace environment complaints opening the door to the silencing of employees who express their deeply held beliefs. This possibility runs counter to everything America stands for in the realm of free speech.”

You can watch Sen. Coats' speech here or read it here. Also, FRC's ENDA resources provide a careful analysis of the dangers inherent in this "anti-discrimination" legislation:

1. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA): A Threat to Free Markets And Freedom Of Conscience And Religion

2. The ENDA Litigation Nightmare

Occasionally, statesmen come along. I know - I worked for one.