October 20, 2007
Barney back Baldwin on trans-inclusion
Posted by: Chris
Once again, Barney Frank hits all the right notes on the compromise ENDA controversy. Even though he championed the strategy of introducing a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that does not include "gender identity" as a protected category, Barney has come out strongly in support of Tammy Baldwin's ENDA "solution" -- an amendment on the floor that adds gender identity back in.
Here's what Barney said in a press release that went out yesterday:
The decision to offer such an amendment came out of a Caucus which Chairman George Miller held of the Democratic Members of the Education and Labor Committee. After some discussion, it became clear that offering such an amendment would offer us the best chance to achieve Speaker Pelosi's goal of adopting in the House the most inclusive ENDA bill for which majority support existed.
I argued in favor of transgender inclusion when I testified on the original legislation on September 5, but many of us believed that sending the full inclusive bill to the floor would open the door to a series of demagogic procedural moves that would have endangered our chances of a passing any bill at all. The discussion held by the Democratic Members of the Education and Labor Committee, Congresswoman Baldwin and myself resulted in this approach and I believe it meets the goal of giving people the opportunity to support a fully inclusive bill while avoiding the potential parliamentary death traps that would otherwise have resulted.
I will on the floor of the House be repeating essentially the arguments in favor of transgender inclusion which I made in the September 5 hearing, because we will now be able to do that in a procedural setting that allows us to maximize support for an inclusive bill without endangering our chances of getting any bill at all.
So trans-or-bust ENDA supporters get their floor vote on "gender identity" as a protected category, though I shudder to think the turn the debate will take when it comes to discussing cross-dressing teachers. Maybe that's what we need to air out the bigotry on the anti-trans side.
Of course I doubt it will satisfy the trans-or-bust'ers, even though they're getting their floor vote only six months after being included in the ENDA, when it took gay rights supporters thirty years to reach this point.
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