• Gay BlogAds


  • Gay News Watch


  • Chris Tweets



  • « Deeply disappointing Donna | Main | John McCain, the dancing queen? »

    April 03, 2008

    Learning the lessons of ENDA . . . not

    Posted by: Chris

    6bde59c8729d4008ab8b4c25604f3801big Just weeks after the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was declared dead for the year by the Human Rights Campaign, Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy appears to be sticking by his promise for a Senate vote on the bill, albeit later than the original January-February timetable.

    In an interview with the Associated Press, Kennedy defended his decision to move forward with the version of ENDA that passed the House, which includes sexual orientation as a protected category but not gender identity:

    "The fact is that the House of Representatives has taken action," Kennedy said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press. "The best opportunity for progress is ... to follow along on the action of the House of Representatives, and then look down the road to a new day after we have a good Democratic Congress and a Democratic president."

    Kennedy expects an "uphill fight" in the narrowly divided Senate, where 60 votes rather than a simple majority would be needed to overcome expected GOP stalling tactics.

    That "uphill fight" will also pit Kennedy against the intransigent left of the GLBT movement, which hasn't moved a muscle since the debacle of last fall's fight over ENDA in the House:

    "We will strongly oppose it," said Roberta Sklar of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Leaving transgender people out makes that a flawed movement." …

     

    "It was made very clear in the fall that most LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) organizations, the vast majority of LGBT organizations, do not want Congress to shove a civil rights bill down our throat that we don't want," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

    Sklar is right, of course, that a gay-only ENDA is "flawed," but so would be a trans-inclusive ENDA, since it would protect the workplace but not in housing and public accommodations; it also carves an exception for the U.S. military -- where the government itself is the discriminatory employer. But flawed incremental progress is inevitable to any civil rights movement.

    Sklar, Keisling and their "United ENDA" allies know this, but they are willing to sacrifice an advance that would benefit almost everyone for the few who would not be helped; even though it's politically impossible to help those few nor or anytime in the near future.

    And there there is HRC, whose Joe Solmonese started the unfounded rumor of ENDA's death in Los Angeles several weeks ago, sitting on the sideline being ineffectual:

    "We will continue this work until all members of our community no longer fear being fired for who they are," said Brad Luna, Human Rights Campaign communications director.

    OK, but what in the heck does that mean? Is HRC supporting Kennedy's gay-only ENDA or reverting to its disastrous flirtation with the United ENDA crowd? If the organization cannot even communicate its position -- the HRC website and blog are devoid of any reaction to Kennedy's ENDA announcement -- then how could it possibly lobby effectively?

    (Photo of Ted Kennedy via Associated Press)

    |

    TrackBack

    TrackBack URL for this entry:
    http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834527dd469e200e551954b288833

    Comments

    1. Tim C on Apr 3, 2008 8:46:05 AM:

      Funny when NGLTF and AFA join forces to oppose the same legislation. Although NGLTF has beaten AFA in publicly acknowledging their opposition.

    1. Brian Miller on Apr 3, 2008 10:32:32 AM:

      And the greatest tragedy?

      Once this de-transgendered, symbolic, meaningless legislation is passed, Democrats will point to it for the next 20 years and say "we gave you something, now shut the hell up and go away" whenever gay issues are brought up again.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Apr 3, 2008 10:57:30 AM:

      Couple of things here. First, even if Kennedy could push this gay-only version of ENDA through Congress and get it to the White House, I doubt the president would sign it into law. So, this is kind of an academic discussion.

      Second, I appreciate HRC's sublime, idealistic position in this matter. But really, they need to get a clue. The best solution, I think, is to get some version of ENDA on the books. After that HRC can lobby all day long, 7 days a week to get it amended to include transgendered individuals.

    1. Ryan on Apr 3, 2008 2:04:55 PM:

      Ms. Keisling's quote is telling. "It was made very clear in the fall that most LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) organizations, the vast majority of LGBT organizations..." are opposed to the gay-only ENDA. (Emphasis mine.)

      LGBT organizations may be opposed, but what do LGBT people think about it? Obviously the transgendered population will not be pleased about it, but what about the gay men and women out there, the primary constituency of such organizations? My hunch is that the people's viewpoints are somewhat different than the viewpoints of the organizations claiming to represent us.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Apr 3, 2008 2:52:43 PM:

      Once this de-transgendered, symbolic, meaningless legislation is passed, Democrats will point to it for the next 20 years and say "we gave you something, now shut the hell up and go away" whenever gay issues are brought up again.

      Brian, your comment above is preposterous. In what way would ENDA be symbolic or meaningless? Are you suggesting the legislalation would provide no remedy for aggrieved gay folks?

      Contrary to what many libertarians think, such legislation is both necessary and useful for protecting minority rights against the whims of bigoted employers.

      Get a clue. It would be ridiculous not to pass good legislation to prevent the Democrats from having bragging rights.

    1. Geena The Transgirl on Apr 3, 2008 2:54:08 PM:

      Given that Obama is totally onboard with same sex civil unions, GLBT equality will be a full wedge issue in a few months, so bring it on.
      I think the electorate would appreciate the clear choice of two parties being honest on where they stand on gay and lesbian workplace discrimination.
      After all if it fails, it does not take away anything we don't already have.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Apr 3, 2008 4:30:32 PM:

      Brian, your comment above is preposterous. In what way would ENDA be symbolic or meaningless?

      Obviously it is, since so many gay people and gay organizations think it so unnecessary that they're willing to torpedo it because it doesn't make the "statement" that they want.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Apr 4, 2008 12:34:18 AM:

      Obviously it is, since so many gay people and gay organizations think it so unnecessary that they're willing to torpedo it because it doesn't make the "statement" that they want.

      Nope, don't think so. If Congress were simply to pass resolution saying "Congress supports gay rights," then I would say yes, you are correct -- symbolic and of no legal consequence.

      There is nothing "meaningless" or "symbolic" about the ENDA legislation. Although I have not read the proposed text, I assume that ENDA will be like most other federal anti-discrimination legislation. In other words will forbid anti-gay discrimination in the workplace and will provide a remedy for aggrieved individuals. Definitely not meaningless or purely symbolic.

      Whatever gay advocacy groups think of a "gay only" version of this legislation is irrelevant to this discussion. Miller's premise was that IF the legislation becomes law, it would be meaningless and would give the Democrats something to brag about. He is clearly wrong on the first issue and who cares if the Democrats can brag. As I said, Miller's comment was preposterous.

    1. Tim C on Apr 4, 2008 12:40:09 PM:

      Interesting. Nothing yet on the HRC web site. I guess they're going to pretend it's not happening.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    © Citizen Crain - All Rights Reserved | Design by E.Webscapes Design Studio | Powered by: TypePad