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  • « Answering HIV's rising gay threat | Main | Once more into the ENDA breach »

    November 30, 2007

    Two weeks later, HRC wakes up

    Posted by: Chris

    Bnnr_actionalert Way back on Nov. 16, I posted about media reports that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act was in serious jeopardy, even though it had passed both the House and the Senate. The problem then, and now, was that Senate Democrats attached the hate crimes measure to the Defense Department reauthorization, setting up a classic political squeeze.  Now House conservatives are objecting to the hate crimes addition and House liberals are objecting to aspects of the DOD bill dealing with the Iraq war.

    In classic Clintonian Democrat fashion, Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) pressed his colleagues to jettison the hate crime add-on, saying that to do so "does no harm to the principle involved in the hate crimes bill." Funny, even as it "does no harm" to the principle of the hate crime bill, it kills for this session the bill itself.

    I wrote in response, way back on Nov. 16:

    What's truly striking about this legislative machination is not the willingness of some Democrats to once again ignore promises to pass even basic gay-friendly legislation. We've come to expect that after 8 years of Bill Clinton and 15 years of off-again, on-again Democratic Congressional leadership that has yet to enact anything.

    No, what's truly striking is the dead silence of all those voices that screamed so loudly at the prospect that "gender identity" would be jettisoned from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act under not-so-different circumstances.  All that lobbying mobilization, all the hand-wringing, all the flurry of press releases and "United ENDA" coalition building. Now? Nada. Zippo. Nothing from the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the rest of the usual suspects.

    Finally, this week, two weeks after the media reports about Democratic machinations that threatened the hate crimes bill -- which is trans-inclusive by the way -- the Human Rights Campaign finally put aside its turkey leftovers long enough to alert is members.

    The Task Force, which you'll recall was the loudest voice of division over ENDA, has remained completely silent about the hate crime measure -- even when it issued a press release about the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which ironically recounts the victims of hate crimes based on gender identity.

    The National Center for Transgender Equality, the leading trans rights group, has also been struck dumb by the threat to the Shepard Act.  There's an alert about an archaic regulatory action by the Department of Homeland Security, but nothing on hate crimes. The NTCE issued seven -- count em -- press releases during the ENDA debate and yet nothing about this new threat to the hate crimes bill.  Some allies.

    Gnw_lighthouse_logosmall For complete news coverage, click or bookmark: www.gaynewswatch.com/hatecrimes

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    Comments

    1. Andoni on Dec 1, 2007 9:44:11 AM:

      I'm not sure I understand the politics of this. The Democrats added the Matthew Shepard Act- Hate Crime Bill (MSA) to the Dept of Defense Bill (DOD), so that it is now an MSA/DOD bill (hate crime bill attached to DOD bill), so Bush wouldn't veto it. This combined bill is in trouble now because the Republican right wing doesn't like the gay part and the Democratic left wing doesn't want more money for the war, and are therefore against the DOD part.

      So what are the Democrats (who happen to be in charge of things now) planning to do? It looks like they are going to reward the right wing Republicans (thereby hurting their gay constituency) by removing the MSA from the DOD bill so they can pick up those Republican votes FOR the war, and spit in the face of their own Democrats who oppose the war and the DOD bill, but support the MSA. So they side with the Republicans and oppose their own Dems -- and in the process kill the MSA.

      What kind of bullshit is this?

    1. dcnight on Dec 1, 2007 11:29:12 AM:

      who knows why the other orgs haven't sent out an alert? maybe hrc is keeping information about the bill's status from them. in any case, task force, ncte, etc are all part of the very broad LCCR national coalition working for the bill, which is the primary mechanism by which the hate crimes bill gets lobbied for in congress. they may be working through them. but, you're right, an e-mail alert is in order.

      in other news, Kate Kendall has a great new column: http://www.nclrights.org/site/PageServer?pagename=blog_katesBlog112007

    1. dcnight on Dec 1, 2007 11:39:46 AM:

      In case you didn't think a establishing legislative history on a trans-free ENDA would hurt efforts under Title VII to protect trans workers, check out this opinion fresh out of the DC District Court.

      Pam's House blend has the summary:
      http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=4A9E3568733F71C9702805EBF0498DB4?diaryId=3792

    1. Monster Beats Sale on Nov 26, 2011 1:58:00 AM:

      check out this opinion fresh out of the DC District Court.

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