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    March 12, 2008

    HRC's ENDA disappearing act

    Posted by: Chris

    It appears that part of the Human Rights Campaign's rehabilitation campaign with transgender activists and their allies may be to "disappear" the Employment Non-Discrimination Act almost altogether.

    A visit to the HRC website shows that if you click on "Issues" and "Workplace," there is absolutely no mention of ENDA, which was hobbled last fall by the insistence of some within the movement that either it include "gender identity" or be opposed by HRC and gay-friendly members of Congress. Even clicking within "Workplace" under "Legislation" shows only a list of bills in play in state legislatures across the country.

    The ENDA omission is particularly dramatic because the "gay only" version backed by gay Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), as well as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), actually passed the House and is pending in the Senate.

    The only way to find ENDA that I could find was to click under "Laws & Elections" -- even though ENDA is neither -- and then on "Federal Legislation." There you'll find links to ENDA and Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill.

    The treatment of ENDA is in marked contrast to how the HRC site treats the (trans-inclusive) Shepard Act, which is also pending -- some would say languishing -- in the Senate. If under "Issues" you click on "Hate Crimes" -- the equivalent to clicking on "Workplace" above -- there is a very prominent link to the section of the site dealing with the Shepard Act.

    Am I reading too much into website structure? Perhaps, but it's striking that the "Workplace" section includes all sorts of links to transgender protections but absolutely nothing for ENDA. It is symptomatic of the way HRC marshaled all its resources to push the trans provision of ENDA and now seems satisfied with doing nothing even though ENDA has finally passed the House and is a Senate vote away from making history.

    Even the posts on HRC's blog about the org's Spring Lobby Day on Capitol Hill last week only mention lobbying House members on a "fully inclusive ENDA" and nothing about pushing senators to pass the version of ENDA (even amended to add trans back in) that is so close to becoming the law of the land.

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    Comments

    1. Tim on Mar 12, 2008 4:05:37 PM:

      That can't be a surprise, I've decided that like most charities they don't want their problem fixed they want a perpetually giving victim class that keeps them in fine dining.

    1. Geena the Transgirl on Mar 12, 2008 5:01:48 PM:

      Speculation - Maybe Harry Reid and company said no ENDA debate this year, don't even ask. A vote will hurt us in key senate races. But you can lobby all you want.

      Shepard Act, we like to keep it on the table.
      After all it includes race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

      Am I being too cynical?

    1. Tim C on Mar 12, 2008 7:29:26 PM:

      Tim: Exactly. I've been saying that for years. ENDA is much more valuable to professional gay organizations as legislation in peril than as enacted law. What if ENDA and a hate crimes bill pass? How will they rally the faithful and their checkbooks? They can continue to drag this out for years. If we want ENDA passed, we're going to have to do it ourselves.

    1. Tim on Mar 13, 2008 12:52:03 AM:

      The same things happened to Unions when OSHA was passed and enforced, unions lost their primary causes. Since than they have been little more than money making schemes that are capable of choking out industry and defrauding their constituents.

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