Waymon Hudson

Accept No Substitutes: Stripped Down Version of ENDA is Dangerous and Wrong

Filed By Waymon Hudson | October 02, 2007 5:10 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: ENDA, SPLENDA, transgender

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been put on hold by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., while talks continue over whether transgender people will be included in the measure. The talk of removing trans-protections by taking out gender expression and identity sparked outrage among LGBT groups, who said they would not support the new bill. The new stripped down version of ENDA (SPLENDA) has many serious problems and loopholes besides the odious removal of trans-rights for political expedience.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketLambda Legal issued a scathing report on the proposed bill, saying, "Leaving out protections for transgender people is unacceptable, and passing a bill riddled with loopholes will make it harder to achieve equality on the job. You can't be fired for being a lesbian or a gay man, but you can be fired if your boss thinks you fit their stereotype of one."

Lambda's preliminary findings summary includes these important points:

- "As a point of clarity for the community: The recent version is not simply the old version with the transgender protections stripped out -- but rather has modified the old version in several additional and troubling ways."

- "In addition to the missing vital protections for transgender people on the job, this new bill also leaves out a key element to protect any employee, including lesbians and gay men who may not conform to their employer's idea of how a man or woman should look and act. This is a huge loophole through which employers sued for sexual orientation discrimination can claim that their conduct was actually based on gender expression, a type of discrimination that the new bill does not prohibit."

- "This version of ENDA states without qualification that refusal by employers to extend health insurance benefits to the domestic partners of their employees that are provided only to married couples cannot be considered sexual orientation discrimination. The old version at least provided that states and local governments could require that employees be provided domestic partner health insurance when such benefits are provided to spouses."

- "In the previous version of ENDA the religious exemptions had some limitations. The new version has a blanket exemption under which, for example, hospitals or universities run by faith-based groups can fire or refuse to hire people they think might be gay or lesbian."

The proposed SPLENDA bill is completely unacceptable. This new bill is so watered down that it makes no real headway for anyone in our community. Even worse than the weak nature of the bill is the thought that some would simply throw trans-people under the bus and ask them to wait for basic human rights. Are we no better than those against us who would do or say anything to get their goals accomplished, no matter who is hurt or left behind?

We must come together as a community and firmly reject this new version. We must not settle for anything less than an inclusive bill that would offer the same rights and protections to everyone. It is time we started coming together and showing our strength. Passing a meaningful ENDA bill may be a harder battle to win, but in the end it is a fight worth waging.


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bill perdue | October 2, 2007 5:27 PM

The Human Rights Campaign, House Speaker Pelosi, D – CA, and Barney Frank, outed gay Democrat of Massachusetts et al were just doing what comes naturally, selling us for twenty pieces of silver. In the Congress issues become interconnected by their efforts to betray us. Democrats have to appear to be for GLBT rights while they torpedo them, and to appear to be for peace while supporting the war.

In the Senate Republicans and Democrats demonstrated their commitment to Iraqi self-determination by voting 75-23 in favor of partitioning Iraq. That will make the sale of Iraqi oil facilities to the oil pirates al that much easier. Then they approved the war funding bill by 92-3., with the hate crimes bill attached. Five senators were absent - all presidential candidates busy hustling the voters. In the house they tried to gut ENDA, hopefully unsuccessfully.

Those were Clintonesque maneuvers worthy of the Bill himself. They vote for the war funding act after promising not to during the 2006 elections, AND nobody notices because the hate crimes bill is attached as a rider, AND they set up the hate crimes bill for a fall, AND they claim they did their best, AND they're off the hook with the bigots, AND they divide up a sovereign nation to grab its oil. Slime personified.

This Congressional gross out comes on the heels of this weeks Washington Post/ABC news poll that shows that most Americans want war funding cut off (3%), sharply reduced (43%) or reduced somewhat (23%). Unsurprisingly the same poll shows that Republican Bush is in the cellar with an approval rate of 33% and the Congressional Republicans and Democrats have dropped into the sewer with an approval rating of 29%.

But the Congress is just doing their duty for the ruling rich. Here’s a hint for conservatives and liberals who might be scratching their head when these deals go down. Recently George Shultz, former Reaganite Secretary of State and Nixonian Secretary of the Treasury said "Politics and the economy are all one big interactive system."

He neglected to say it but politicians, Republican and Democrat, are owned by the same people who own the economy, the ruling rich.

Check out the US Labor Party.

To learn more about the No Substitutes campaign, readers can click here or just click on their ad on the upper right side of each page.