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    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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    1. Bloggernista on Oct 22, 2007 6:53:00 AM:

      Barney is a much smarter legislative strategist than some activists give him credit for being. I don't always agree with his approach, but this will helped to move the ball forward on an inclusive ENDA.

    1. Andoni on Oct 22, 2007 8:55:05 AM:

      My sources tell me that Barney's ENDA should pass on the House floor. They are also well prepared for poison pills which should allay many of us who have thoroughly discussed this in prior discussions. At this point Tammy's amendment doesn't have the votes to make the bill T inclusive and the worry is that it may fall far short of a respectable number of votes. 200 votes would be respectable and give it the aura of if not this time, maybe it will happen in the near future. However, if the votes are under 180, it will actually set the T cause back several years because it shows weakness and those Congressmen who vote "no" will not change their votes for a long time because, that's just the way Congress is --- and because of the flip flop accusations. So the irony here is that Tammy and others may think they are helping the T cause by bringing the T amendment amendment up for a vote this week, but in reality, if they don't have at least 200 votes, they are actually killing that concept for quite a while. What's that saying about good intentions?

      Also, I was surprised to learn that there are enough votes in the Senate to pass BOTH the T version and Barney's version, however it is not sure whether there are 60 votes for either, which in reality is the number of votes you need to pass anything in the Senate these days. The T inclusive bill definitely does not have 60 votes, but Barney's may. Remember Hate Crimes went through the Senate with 60 votes --and that was T inclusive and many Republicans voted for it.

      And finally Bush has only promised to veto the T inclusive EDNA. He has been silent on the old ENDA.

    1. Matt Sanchez on Oct 23, 2007 1:05:21 AM:

      Sexual orientation is something you're "born with" and can't be changed, but if you were actually born a man, then it's perfectly legitimate to "correct" nature?

      Good thing there are laws that seek to clarify this.

    1. Zoe Brain on Oct 24, 2007 9:19:04 AM:

      Matt, maybe one day Medical science will advance to such a state that neurosurgery will be able to "cure" both conditions. They lie in the brain, after all.

      Until then, modifying the body to match the brain is the best that can be done.

      Oh yes, if you could be "cured" of being Gay, would you want to be?

      Perhaps it's best that it's likely to be centuries before such things are a possibility. And by that time, such things as Gay vs Straight will be as negligible as green eyes vs blue. And people born transsexual would have the option to get their chromosomes changed, or their minds.

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