Guest Blogger

A Possible Solution to the ENDA Equation

Filed By Guest Blogger | April 30, 2008 11:05 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: employment protections, ENDA, government, libertarianism, transgender

Editors' note: Guest blogger Allison Bricker works as a Senior Political Analyst for an Indiana public opinion and research company, and has a lifelong love affair with all things political. She currently manages her own blog, Political-Soapbox.

ABricker-Headshot.jpgWhile I believe in the principle that one's employment should be solely based on their ability to fulfill the job requirements of their potential or current position, I disagree on the method embraced by the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of attaining this parity amongst individuals. That said, and in the interest of truly attaining equality amongst all human beings, I present my solution to the current stalemate over ENDA...

Instead of lobbying the Federal Government to force all private companies and individuals into a legislative mandate for equality, let us instead consider the strict constructionist view of our Constitution, guided by the Founder's vision of Federalism as stated in the 10th Amendment. Let us further call for the Federal Government to fulfill their oath of office to uphold the Constitution; most specifically to the "Promotion of the General Welfare" clause, vis-à-vis their current internal equal employment hiring policies.

While it is a common misnomer that this country is a "democracy," which is merely tyranny of the majority, our nation was purposely constructed as a republic to ensure the protection of any and all political or demographic minorities. Therefore, governments instituted may not deny the benefits and privilege of an individual's natural rights nor the benefits of citizenship granted civilly by governments.

Precisely because of our minority status, our government is mandated to equality by this core structure of a republic. Furthermore, the cornerstones of federalism were buttressed by the 14th Amendment, which extended the prohibition against tyranny of a majority to all state governments in addition to the Federal government.

Using this actuality, we should focus our efforts at lobbying Congressional members who truly believe in equality as a principle and not as a pandering tactic to be used as re-election strategy. We should petition these members of Congress for a redress of our grievances. That being, since the Federal government has already acknowledged their duty to uphold this federalist principle in the form of equal employment opportunity mandates for all civilian positions within the government it is then necessary to add sexual-orientation and gender identity to the scope of federal equal employment policies, because these too are real demographic minorities. Otherwise, the Federal government's own hiring practices violate the aforementioned tenants of equal protection under the law. This in turn also then applies to any businesses that are contractors/sub-contractors for public-sector government contracts.

In effect, we use the market and pursuit of capitalistic profit to integrate ourselves into the private sector, with no direct coercion upon any private entity. Quite simply, if these private companies wish to continue to receive business from the government then they must adhere to the expanded tenants of internal Federal EEO practices, which is already required of them. However if these business owners are so ridiculously entrenched with their short-sighted bigotry and cannot set their hatred aside, they are free to give up their government contracts and return to the market, minus all revenue generated from their previous public-sector contracts. Secondly, this would then open the door for a business interested in contracting with the government to increase profits simply by expanding their EEOC policy.

Competition breeds advancement not only in technological aspects but also and more importantly, competition refocuses business priorities in favor of hiring employees solely based on their ability to perform their job in order for the business to gain the most efficient competitive advantage over another company. Furthermore, it goes without saying that if one company surrendered its government contracts due to entrenched bigotry, a new more forward thinking business would be there to take the bigots place. By proxy this then gives cause for employers to hire us and look past any of their potential bigotry should we qualify for a position within their company. Additionally, research has shown repeatedly that once individuals outside of our community get to know us and form professional/personal relationships with us, the walls of intolerance and bigotry come tumbling down.

Next, we then should begin lobbying state and county governments to institute the same expansions within their EEOC policies as they too operate in the public sphere for all citizens and are not privately held businesses. Again, the same requirement of contractor and sub-contractor subordination applies as they already do now with the approval process of becoming a vendor for local governments.

As we gain experience and develop relationships, integration into the larger job market will become easier and easier, until it is no longer an issue. This is a result at least as good if not better than current legislatively enforced mandates, which come with the baggage of internalized resentment and bigotry, which is always the by-product of coercion.

The victory comes through understanding and empathy - not coercion. More importantly, equality is attainable and can be realized through the historically Constitutional principle that our government was instituted to be a government for all people without moral or class distinctions.

Moreover, utilizing this method of "willing enlightenment" from the government "promoting the general welfare" by representing all of her people, we critically wound the seeds of resentment that is often a reaction of one group using government to coerce an unwilling group to accept another.

Just something to think about as the rhetoric continues to grow more divisive, now from three sides; the right wing, the old wing of the gay community, and the rest of the LGBT community, because this surely is not closer to equality, nor is it towards a more perfect union.


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Looks good on paper, but try in interject Human Nature into the mix and it falls apart like a house of cards.

Monica, thank you for responding to my post. I am a firm believer in practicing what I preach. From my own personal experience I have already began to implement my solution for ENDA.

As such, when I came out to my employer at the research firm he made it very clear that he was unequivocally an ally. My other employer, a publishing house, fired me.

Shortly thereafter, I approached the President of the research company in regards to updating the company EEOC. It took 6 months of input and back and forth with the company attorney's but the revised EEOC policy now protects sexuality and gender identity as well as a policy to refuse business with companies who knowingly or have a repeated pattern of discrimination.

I believe this was accomplished by my boss believing in my abilities as well as getting to know someone who is a member of the LGBT community.

Additionally, I am currently working for a County Commissioner candidate on a volunteer basis. We have already spoke in regards to expanding the County's EEOC policy and he is receptive and believes in the ideal of government setting a good example for equality.

As the research company regularly contracts with city, town and county governments, part of the process for us to become an approved vendor involves testifying before the governmental body as it relates to our compliance with State/Federal EEOC.

I never said this would be easy, it in fact will be hard work, but it is plausible, and equality is worth the concerted effort in my humble opinion.

Respectfully,

Allison

Allison,
I want you to know that I want to see this succeed in a very big way. You have a lot of energy and drive that is sometimes missing in parts of the LGBT community.

I had a similar success with the company I work for. I've been with company for over 18 years and transitioned nearly 11 years ago. When I started getting involved in activism a year after starting my transition, I began asking the company to add "gender identity and gender expression" in the EEO policy, since they already had sexual orientation.

I did that regularly for 6 years, each time getting a call from the head of HR assuring me they would not be able to add it, but that they would not discriminate for those reasons. The finally added it without any fanfare and I didn't find out for nearly a year.

However, as an astute observer of human nature, I know that trying to expand this idea beyond our immediate environment can get rather tricky. We have to deal with the illogical rantings of those who hate us, and they don't really care what laws they break, or how much they violate the Constitution, as long as they can prevent us from getting our rights. I only wish that everyone were instantly instilled with the knowledge you have on the subject so we can get them to see the light. Keep up the fight. You have a new friend in Georgia.

I agree with Monica, and then some. The reality is that it would only work for companies with government contracts, and only if someone actually polices those contracts to insure compliance to EEOC requirements. The reality is that is not happening. Look at the huge amount of profiteering currently going on in government no-bid contract related to Iraq and Afganistan. If they can't even keep track of the money, there is no way our issuse are even going to be visible at a level where there would be any constructive change.

It also ignores the majority our economy that does NOT do business with the government. This is where the majority of the jobs are in our economy. The company I work for doesn't do business with the government, so where is my protection? That sentiment is going to echoed by the majority of LGBTQI peoples out there.

Your comments with regard to constitutional law are good, but could become a double edged sword. If the idea that the protections are already there became prevalent, it could inhibit the passage of legislation; regardless of the fact that the courts have yet to uphold our rights in these employment situations based on the 14th Amendment. In fact, it could be argued that since these protections in theory have been in place all this time and yet courts have upheld firings, therefore precident law has already been establshed that the 14th Amendment cited is not applicable to the exact situations that ENDA is trying to address. ENDA plus the 14th Amendment make a good team, but the 14th alone could make a really weak argument in an actual court of law.

To play devil's advocate for a moment, your interpretation of the guiding philosophy behind the constitution and the 14th amendment is a common one, but definitely not the only one. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia have a very different interpretation. Scalia has argued repeatedly that the 14th amendment does not apply to LGBT people as a guarantee against social discrimination - only as a guarantee that they can participate in the legal and political process. In his dissent for Romer v. Evans, he wrote "Since the Constitution of the United States says nothing about this subject [homosexuality], it is left to be resolved by normal democratic means, including the democratic adoption of provisions in state constitutions."

So, for constructionists like Scalia, your argument about that "governments instituted may not deny the benefits and privilege of an individual's natural rights nor the benefits of citizenship granted civilly by governments" doesn't cover workplace nondiscrimination - because the "natural benefits" and "benefits of citizenship" are more narrowly defined than that. Furthermore, the 14th amendment itself is subject to both narrow and broad interpretations.

Next, the vast majority of large workplaces are voluntarily adding sexual orientation to their EEOC policies, and the trend to add gender identity is definitely on the rise. The problem is that these voluntarily adopted policies aren't especially legally binding unless the local, state or national laws also protect against this discrimination. And while it's true that smaller companies may lag behind in this area of voluntary nondiscrimination policies, most local, state and federal nondiscrimination laws make exceptions for small businesses anyway.

Ultimately, while I agree that everything you suggest is a valuable addition to a multi-faceted approach to ENDA, the reality is that given the conservative makeup of SCOTUS and other political factors, the heavily political and polarizing debate about passing a federal law may still be necessary to achieving the goals you state in your opening paragraph.

Shannon and Jere, thank you both for reading my post and taking the time to respond.

I can appreciate your concerns about the viability of the proposal.

However, I cannot bring myself to believe in using coercion for us to gain parity. Coercion is just far too dangerous of a principle for me to acquiesce.

The ill effects of coercion are quite visible and the divisive nature of coercion in my opinon is the keystone of why our nation is currently so divided.

Coercion has become the accepted norm. The largest extrapolation of the force doctrine is displayed in the philosophies espoused by the contributors of "The Project for a New American Century.

All wholeheartedly believe in the gospel of force in order to achieve their ends. And in this example those contributors believed so much that how they felt was correct they were willing to use military to enforce their belief of an American Empire. These contributors all helped craft and sell their extreme view of coercion to the American People regarding their justification for war against a sovereign nation, that had not provoked us.

While this is the most extreme example other smaller evidences surround us in a more subtle way. President Bush believes so much in his Christianity as the only correct philosophy that he is willing to use coercion to force schools into teaching abstinence only education in out public schools.

He uses his justification to use Public tax dollars to fund religious churches to conduct missionary expeditions.

What happens if the nation were to elect an unabashed homophobe who used coercion to enforce his extreme dogma to virtually outlaw homosexuality or ban the practice of gender reassignment surgery?

Think the aforementioned is an impossible situation? Ask yourself if you ever thought you would see the day when we were waging war on 2 possibly 3 nations at once abroad and using public funds to teach "intelligent design" in science classes. Ask yourself if you ever thought you would see the day when habeus corpus became suspended and the use of warrantless wiretaps became debatable.

If we are to have the high ground and speak against an unjustified unConstitutional war, religious teachings in public schools, then we must resist the urge to implement blanket equality via that same mechanism.

Because in my opinion, the only thing worse than coercion is hypocrisy.

Respectfully,

Allison

I don't accept Allison's pedestrian brand of libertarianism -- that it is somehow inappropriate for the government to regulate private actions.

If a company wants the protection of the government's property laws, contract laws, and copyright laws, the company can bear the obligations of the government's environmental laws, anti-trust laws, and equal employment laws.

The bankrupcty of libertarianism lies in its biased insistence that an employment discrimination law is some kind of infringement on the freedom of bigots while simultaneously having no problem with a company calling in the police to remove someone trespassing on its property or suing in court to recover money under a contract.

"To play devil's advocate for a moment, your interpretation of the guiding philosophy behind the constitution and the 14th amendment is a common one, but definitely not the only one. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia have a very different interpretation."

And lets not forget the view of more than a few on the ultra radical right that the 14th Amendment doesn't actually exist as such because the resolution proposing it was never validly submitted to the states for ratification due to the post-Civil War lack of representation in Congress of many of the southern states. One more Dubya appointee and we're likely to see that theory adopted by the Supreme Court.

Thank you Steve for reading my post and taking the time to respond. That said...

Steve wrote:"I don't accept Allison's pedestrian brand of libertarianism."

Fair enough, because I don't understand how you feel justified in forcing everyone, regardless of the issue, to accept your personal philosophy.

Could you explain to my pedestrian intellect why you think your way of thinking is superior to anyone elses?

Part of the beauty of freedom means we can have differing passions opinion, etc. Moreover we have the freedom of free association which means we can team up with others who share our views and implement our ideals into the free market.

But according to your philosophy, your view is somehow superior to any other individual deviance from your life's passions and line of thinking.

To me it speaks to your own confidence in your own philosophy that only through forcing people could you hope to implement your passions.

I will be sure to look both ways before I make my pedestrian way across the street to avoid being crushed by your heavy-handed brand of liberalism.

Respectfully,

Allison

Allison,

I'd say you're distorting the word coercion in this context. Commonly, coercion has a negative connotation - that of something forced or gained through intimidation or threats (bullying, deception, blackmail). But in other situations, coercion is less negative and simply a more extreme form of persuasion (such as sweet-talking, begging or seducing). I think you're exploiting this ambiguity in meaning to make your case.

If passing a law that compels certain behavior by penalty of the state is coercion, by your standard, then our entire bill of rights and most of our legal system is coercive. School integration was and is coercive. Requiring equal pay for equal work is coercive.

See, the thing is that you can persuade (instead of coerce) all you want, but at some point, if we want to see change in our lifetimes, there is a tipping point at which our nation decides it's time to enforce certain community standards. Usually, that's when majority-elected government officials pass laws like ENDA.

I'm sorry, I just don't buy your argument that laws which mandate nondiscrimination are morally wrong for being coercive. While the example you cite of Bush administration policies are terrible, I think the most appropriate term for them isn't coercion, but outright bullying backed by misinformation campaigns and backroom dealings which circumvented the democratic process.

"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jere said: "I'd say you're distorting the word coercion in this context."

With all due respect, I believe the word is actually defined as having a negative connotation. I am not distorting the word "Coercion" I use coercion by its very definition.

Source: Unabridged Websters World Dictionary's definition.

co·er·cion

1. the act of coercing; use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance.

2. force or the power to use force in gaining compliance, as by a government or police force.

This can no way be interpreted as "sweet-talking", "begging" or "seduction" it is force with the threat of legal retaliation. Whether it be monetary, physical, or both.

Only the government has the "legal" authority to use coercion.

Respectfully,

Allison

Jere said:
""It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is a great quote, however job discrimination is hardly equivalent to lynching so it seems a bit off topic. Physical harm or defrauding someone out of their property is an entirely different matter.

More importantly the first portion is what I would like to concentrate on in this reply.

Legislation cannot rid the world of biggotry, it merely drives it underground.

Once upon a time I was hired into a middle management position with a top tier company in the graphics industry.

It was a great job, and I thought my former boss was an okay guy, until it came time for me to hire additional subordinate employees.

He told me just prior to conducting my first interview with a potential new hire,

Boss Man said:"After you are done with the interviewing, get me a list of the candidates you feel would fit well here. And don't give me any women who are real young or just married you know their women problems tend to get in the way and then they want time off to get pregnant as soon as they get benefits."

Needless to say, the criteria of who I was to not hire continued on to list just about every minority covered by current mandated EEOC policies.

I ended up turning 5 resumes to him for his final decision. I failed to follow his criteria and he later told me it was a good idea to have included them so we can "keep them on file". He went on to hire the one white male who applied for the position.

And the guy turned out to be a total doof, failing at just about every aspect of the job description. He was fire by my boss 2 months later.

So we must ask if this is what we would call victory?

If so then it is nothing more than a parrot victory as we have not actually achieved parity, only a law on paper.

I am asking us to consider taking the slower more deliberate path of education and enlightenment so the day can arrive where being anyone of the letters from our alphabet soup really doesn't even matter.

The legislative route will not end discrimination, it just shoves the bigots into the closet whilst remaining in power.

Respectfully,

Allison

Jere said:
"I'd say you're distorting the word coercion in this context. Commonly, coercion has a negative connotation."

With all due respect I am not distorting the use of the word "Coercion", the reason it has a negative connotation is mainly because of its definition.

Unabridged Websters World Dictionary

co·er·cion-noun

1. the act of coercing; use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance.

2. force or the power to use force in gaining compliance, as by a government or police force.

And there is no way that the above definition may be construed to mean "sweet-talking", "begging", or "seduction"

So I think I am I am on pretty solid ground in my use of the word, especially in this situation.

Respectfully,

Allison

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 30, 2008 11:46 PM

Allison, I have intimidated for years without any help from the government and without use of violence, but have used reasoned arguments. Please know that without specific Federal law our protections in the workplace are tenuous. Even with them one is seldom fired for being GLBTQ, but for some other cause, like being a "doof" as you put it. Anyone who believes that they have protection on the job is fooling themselves unless they are in a union position and there are damn few of those left.

I love your attitudes, and your ideals and obvious intellect, but mon cher, the world is full of fools.

I have said it before, but I came from a place and time where whites believed any benefit to racial minorities was a cost to their race. From my same home town came the sitting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. John Roberts grew up in an ultra segregated, Roman Catholic dominated, insular, narrow minded community. Unless he got his shoes shined at the railway station I am sure he never had any interaction whatsoever with a person of color.

Without protections, carefully written into law, they would not hesitate to find them unconstitutional. They are already weakening "Row vs Wade" and they will find their way toward weakening other civil liberties as well.

Ah, we could quibble over dictionary definitions of words, but that's a distraction. You haven't addressed what I consider to be my more fundamental criticisms of your argument, which I understand as: ENDA (or "lobbying the Federal Government to force all private companies and individuals into a legislative mandate for equality" as you put it in the original post) is a failed strategy because it is coercion and coercion is always wrong.

In support of this you embark on a misleading, possibly incorrect and ultimately irrelevant analysis of US Constitutional law. This is misleading and irrelevent because your real argument has nothing to do with the Constitutional principals, but has to do with taking an even slower legislative strategy that involves drastically more incremental progress than either side of the debate from the LGBT community is alling for.

To support all this you rely on the idea that any law which forces nondiscrimination is morally wrong AND ineffective.

However, I cannot bring myself to believe in using coercion for us to gain parity. Coercion is just far too dangerous of a principle for me to acquiesce.
I am asking us to consider taking the slower more deliberate path of education and enlightenment so the day can arrive where being anyone of the letters from our alphabet soup really doesn't even matter.

The legislative route will not end discrimination, it just shoves the bigots into the closet whilst remaining in power.

I find this whole argument suspect. First, because I challenge your claim that coercion is always morally wrong. Governmental coercion is a cornerstone of our entire legal system - that police, regulatory agencies and courts have the authority and responsibility to force people (if necessary) into accord with the laws and expectations of the land.

I also challenge your argument that coercion is wrong in the context of ending bigotry. Surely you cannot claim that Brown v. Board of Education was wrong? The government used it's coercive power to force a previously segregated school to accept black students. You argued that my quote from Dr. King was innappropriate, but surely access to education and access to employment rights are a more acceptable analogy.

You rightly said,

Additionally, research has shown repeatedly that once individuals outside of our community get to know us and form professional/personal relationships with us, the walls of intolerance and bigotry come tumbling down.

Nowhere is this more true than in those communities that have already adopted employment nondiscrimination laws that have had time to take effect. Further research will show you that nondiscrimination laws tend to initiate or reinvigorate a positive cycle of more acceptance, economic progress, and understanding.

Finally, while I think the impulse behind your idea is good - that a more meaningful and lasting change results from your approach - it's of little comfort to the people who are struggling with issues of unemployment and underemployment based on anti-LGBT bias today. With or without "gender identity" - we're on the verge of passing legislation that will have a positive and immediate impact. Moreover, even if you are correct that ENDA would drive bigotry into hiding, it would also give many victims of bigotry a previously nonexistant access to legal recourse. It would also set a powerful precedent in our federal legal system that it's not OK to discriminate against LGBT people - a precedent that is not as evident in our constitution or the 14th amendment as you would like us to believe.

You have failed to convince me that abandoning the push to pass ENDA is either moral or an effective path towards full equality.

I find myself agreeing with Allison partially. I think this would be a great start - but I'd still like to see an HRO-like mandate.

Jere said:"In support of this you embark on a misleading, possibly incorrect and ultimately irrelevant analysis of US Constitutional law.

We just have fundamentlly diferent points of view. Just as you tried and failed to redefine the word coercion, you once again are attempting to redefine actuality with an assertion backed up by no sources.

Jere said:"This is misleading and irrelevent because your real argument has nothing to do with the Constitutional principals.

Really the functions and purpose of our government as defined by the Constitution is worthless in your estimation? I find that a rather ridiculous statement.

Furthermore, my understanding, philosophy, and principles behind the Constitution come from my nerd like obsession with the founding of our nation.

Please do me a favor, and before you attempt at discrediting my understanding of the Constitution, actually read The Federalist Papers, The Anti-Federalist Papers, and Madison's own explanation of the Constitution in , "Madison's notes on the Convention"

But I know, I know... who wants to read the intent of the Constitution from the insight of the founders? I suppose you would find their writings about as useful as a dictionary.

Jere said:"You have failed to convince me that abandoning the push to pass ENDA is either moral or an effective path towards full equality."

My hope was to put another idea on to the table, for those who look at the results over the last 60 years as less than a true victory. Tis a path of failed government mandates.

Because if you think Brown v Board of Education actually succeeded in integrating schools, I suggest you might stop by any public school in IPS or Chicago Public Schools to see how much success was really achieved.

Correct me if I am wrong, but your apparent definition of success matches up about as well as your definition of coercion, neither of which are factually accurate.

Or is a 29.9% graduation rate for our so-called "integrated" inner city schools your definition of success?
Source: Northwest Indiana Times 04/01/2008

The whites moved out of the inner city collapsing the tax base thereby allowing the inner city schools to deteriorate whilst at the same time keeping their suburban schools mostly pancake batter white.

It was a nice idea, but coercion failed to produce the desired results once again.

Me personally; I am hoping for a bit more realized success than 29.9% employment integration when I look back in the next 60 years.

Respectfully,

Allison


Allison,

It's not that I disagree with your interpretation of the constitution, it's that I find it irrelevant to your argument. Furthermore, as I've already pointed out, people like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia have a radically different understanding of those constitutional principles than yours - and it seems to me that your interpretation of these principles and the strategy they suggest will only be effective on people who already share your interpretation. Nothing about your strategy suggests practical success in changing hearts and minds of people who already hold a radically different view of the function of government in protecting citizens.

I'm trying to imagine an alternative history in which Brown v. Board of Education did not happen, yet we somehow all managed to hold hands and skip down the road to racial harmony and equality. 29.9% success is better than no success, and without Brown, I can easily imagine a world with no success.

And before you go on bashing my definition of coercion:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coercion
While I recognize that wikipedia is not the end-all source of information, my point is that I am not the only one who recognizes ambiguity in the term. Your insistence that the meaning is clear and unambiguous seems preposterous.

Furthermore, you have yet to point to me to one convincing reason that ENDA should be abandoned because your proposal is more effective or more morally right. You point to examples of shortcomings in the mandate-style civil rights progress, yet that hardly constitutes evidence that your glacially-slow incremental approach is more effective.

Over 50% of the citizens of this country now live in states, counties or cities that have enacted ENDA-style nondiscrimination ordinances protecting against sexual orientation discrimination. Roughly 1/3 of all citizens live in states, counties or cities that also protect people from workplace discrimination based on gender identity. In most of these communities, especially those who were early adopters of the ENDA-style laws, the cycle of LGBT inclusion and acceptance is much further along than in those who have not passed such laws or only recently did so. It may be a chicken-and-the-egg thing (which came first, the tolerance or the nondiscrimination law?), but I've seen first-hand that true workplace change happens when people are unafraid to be out and open with non-LGBT coworkers, and people are more unafraid to be out and open in the workplace when they know the law supports them.

Government mandates will lead to higher levels of "forced interaction" sooner and this interaction is what ultimately changes hearts and minds.

Jere said:
And before you go on bashing my definition of coercion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coercion While I recognize that wikipedia is not the end-all source of information,

I am sorry, but WikiPedia is not fit for academic papers in college, as qualified evidence for submission in a court of law, nor amongst any serious institutions anywhere in our country.

I therefore reject any notion cited from a less than reputable web page.

Jere said:
Furthermore, you have yet to point to me to one convincing reason that ENDA should be abandoned because your proposal is more effective or more morally right"

Again, through my relationship with my employer we successfully implemented a greatly expanded EEOC policy.

More importantly in my opinion, is the agreement reached with the candidate I am working for who is seeking election as one of three County Commissioners.

Upon his successful election that would put 2 of the 3 top commissioners in agreement with my proposal. Additionally through professional contacts we already have a County Councilman willing to sponsor the expanded EEOC.

Is success guaranteed? Nope, but it is possible. More importantly, getting a county on board is much easier than attempting to ram a resolution through the Federal Congress coercing all private businesses to abide. And if we can negotiate this expansion at the county level for all county employees and vendors, we will be the 1st of 92 counties.

That my friend is a starting point.

I therefore reject any notion cited from a less than reputable web page.

Are you familiar with the term "genetic fallacy" in reference to logic? Look it up in one of those fancy dictionaries you think I don't know about.

Expanding EEOC policies in private business and public employment is great, I'm not debating that. I strongly support businesses and public institutions voluntarily adopting EEOC policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity. However, without the weight of law behind them, victims of discrimination have no real legal recourse. Example: Largo, Fl. They had a voluntarily adopted EEOC policy for public employees. Then Susan Stanton came out as a transgender woman and the policy was simply scrapped on a whim. If a higher branch of government (state or federal) had laws providing a minimum protection for Stanton, she might have kept her job. Instead, she has been searching for employment for almost a year now.

There are also problems with your proposal about government contracts having to do with ERISA law and interstate commerce. If cities and counties are free to dictate to interstate businesses what kind of policies are required, what's to stop Bumpkinville, Kansas from passing a law that any company that DOES include nondiscrimination policies for transgender people is precluded from doing business with that city.

More importantly, getting a county on board is much easier than attempting to ram a resolution through the Federal Congress coercing all private businesses to abide.

Really? I grew up in Utah. Are you seriously trying to tell me that getting Utah County (home of BYU and Provo, which was found to be the most conservative city in the US with a population over 100K by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research) on board with voluntary nondiscrimination practices will be easier than passing a federal law?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 1, 2008 5:06 PM

It’s not a legal question, it’s a political question. The fight against discrimination and for bills like ENDA is occurring in the context of a concerted drive by right-wingers, who dominate both parties, to further erode our already pitifully weak antidiscrimination laws and to undermine our ability to litigate. And because there’s a war on they’re launching a concerted drive against the Bill of Rights and civil rights and liberties in general. That’s why they toughened the Paytriot act but gutted and then dumped ENDA and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes act.

In my opinion we should continue our campaign to criminalize discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech. We should take as the basis for our political action the idea that those who impose harsh and unfair conditions on working people, minorities and ourselves are the real criminals. (This campaign will begin in earnest when people awaken from their election trances to find that its business as usual.)

Look at it this way. The right wing in both parties panders to racists by describing immigrant and imported workers as ‘illegal’. That’s bull. What should be, but isn’t illegal, are the working conditions – lack of health care, low wages, unsafe working practices, and the assurance that the boss will call ‘La Migra’ the minute union organizing begins. And not just them. Discrimination against immigrants, GLBT folk, females, African Americans and others takes differing forms but what they all have in common is that the business bosses and owners are committing crimes. You can look for that approach at Denver and Minneapolis, but you won’t find it.

Rolling over and playing dead won’t cut it. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by a hard edged fight to impose our will on them. We won’t get good laws until we convince the bosses and the politicians that the alternative to giving us a dollop of justice is much worse than not doing it.

Bill Perdue said:
"impose our will on them."

Really so you wish to dominate them because your tired of being dominated by them.

Shame on you.

What a sad goal.

Are we not supposed to move forward, not simply become the oppressors instead of the oppressed?