November 06, 2007
Welcome back to the movement, HRC
Posted by: Chris
With the House poised to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act despite, rather than because of, the nation's largest glbT group, the Human Rights Campaign has belatedly remembered that the vast majority of its constituents would greatly benefit from passage of historic civil rights legislation. As a result, HRC has reversed itself -- I've lost track of how may times -- and once again actively supports passage of ENDA even if it does not include "gender identity" as a protected category.
The policy reversal, which will probably have about as much (or as little) impact as HRC's fence-sitting has up till now, came complete with all sorts of ass-covering. First, there as a joint letter from the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights that included HRC, the NAACP and a number of other top civil rights organizations, that backed the compromise ENDA that could come up for a vote as early as tomorrow.
The letter's take-away quote:
It is “beyond dispute that transgender employees are particularly in need of those protections,” the letter says. “They face far more pervasive and severe bias in the workplace and society as a whole,” the letter says.
“As civil rights organizations, however, we are no strangers to painful compromise in the quest for equal protection of the law for all Americans,” it says. “From the Civil Rights Act of 1957 through the almost-passed District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2007, legislative progress in the area of civil and human rights has almost always been incremental in nature.
Hmm. Sound vaguely familiar to anyone else?
HRC also pushed the release of a poll it conducted almost two weeks ago, which shows an overwhelming majority of "LGBT Americans" favors passing ENDA even if transgender protections are removed. And the knee-slapper from the Advocate's coverage of the poll:
HRC president Joe Solmonese said the poll numbers weren’t immediately obvious to him or the organization before they conducted the polling.
“There were so many people out there speaking so emphatically about where the entire community was that I thought maybe we should get a sense of it, and that’s why we did the poll,” he said. “So it was surprising to me, but I think it really speaks to the fact that there’s a big diverse community of GLBT Americans all across the country.”
No, Joe. It speaks to the huge disconnect between the left-leaning professional activists who run HRC and the 300-odd organization in the "United ENDA" coalition and the consituents that they supposedly represent. It is a gap that has long been a subject of this blog, and it will be interesting to watch whether Matt Foreman, who led those trying to cover-up the community's real views on the subject, will own up to their mendacity.
Note the similarity between HRC's poll results and the unscientific results of the poll from this blog and Gay News Watch (below). In HRC's poll, 70% backed a gay-only ENDA, while in our little survey, 73% did. Similarly, the HRC poll showed 20% only supported ENDA if trans protections were included; 28% of our survey respondents felt similarly.
It speaks volumes that HRC sat on their poll, knowing what the community really wants, until the House Rules Committee set ENDA up for a vote and then, at the 11th hour and 59th minute, literally one day before, HRC jumps on the bandwagon.
That's not leading; that's called following.
For a complete news summary on gay rights, click or bookmark: gaynewswatch.com/legalcivilrights
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