Barney Frank is holding a press conference right now about ENDA being reintroduced with over a hundred cosponsors. It's trans-inclusive and has a real chance of passing the House, but only if we push for it to get through.
After a few weeks of asking/telling/demanding the Obama Administration to move forward with LGBT legislation, we now have our chance to help move a piece of legislation forward and prove our guff as a constituency. DOMA repeal has been put off at least until next year, and it's not going to happen if we aren't engaged and committed enough to get ENDA through. If we don't have it together enough to get a bill passed that says that we should have the right to work, then how are we going to get a bill passed that says our relationships should be recognized by the federal government the same as straight ones?
First, join the Inclusive ENDA Facebook group set up to help pass the bill.
Second, contact your US rep to ask them to support the ENDA and to find out how he or she is going to vote. You can call the Capitol at 202-224-3121 and find out who your rep is at votesmart.org. When you find out, email ENDAcampaign@gmail.com and let those people know what you heard.
Third, sign up to visit your House rep so that the Inclusive ENDA campaign can put pressure on undecided representatives this summer before the bill gets voted on this fall.
This is all to make sure that we won't even be close to considering dumping gender identity and gender expression protections this time around. If we do our homework, no one's going to bring it up because it just won't be necessary.
Update: The Task Force releases a statement:
"Today marks a critical milestone for our community and our country. Introduction of this important legislation signals the beginning of the end of a long-fought battle. For decades, a majority of people in this country have supported protecting their friends, family and neighbors from discrimination. Congress must act, at long last, this year.
"Passage of this critical legislation would help ensure that people are allowed to participate on a level-playing field in the workplace. ENDA reflects our country's core values of fairness and equality. It is immoral to deny lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people the ability to earn a livelihood and provide for their families. People should not have to fear losing their job simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
"We are pleased that President Obama has expressed support for this legislation and expect the administration to play a role in assisting with its passage in both the House and Senate."
And the National LGBT Bar Association:
"The introduction of ENDA shows that Congress is dedicated to making sure that all workers are safe from discrimination," said D'Arcy Kemnitz, Executive Director of the National LGBT Bar Association. "The vast majority of Americans support workplace protections for LGBT workers, and it is long past time for federal law to reflect that reality."
Twelve states and more than 100 local governments currently include LGBT employees in their nondiscrimination protections. Nationwide, roughly 40 percent of all American workers are covered under LGBT-inclusive laws.
"Americans understand that employment protection is not just ethical, it is also practical," said Kemnitz. "Our members handle countless cases of workplace discrimination, and they will tell you that workers who are secure in their jobs are more productive. That is critical in today's economy."
"Today's introduction of an all-inclusive ENDA is the culmination of
decades work, undertaken by PFLAG and others, to educate lawmakers
about the daily reality so many LGBT Americans face in their places of
employment," said PFLAG executive director Jody M. Huckaby.
"Employment should be based on who is the most qualified person for
the job, and not on the personal prejudices of those who are doing the
hiring. LGBT Americans, like their straight co-worker, go to work each
day to contribute to their communities, support their families and
keep our economy running. Neither their sexual orientation, nor their
gender identity, has any impact on their job performance. Congress
should recognize as much and pass this inclusive ENDA immediately."
Currently, employers in 30 states may legally fire someone based on
their sexual orientation or gender identity, and employers in 38
states may legally fire someone based on their gender identity. And,
according to numerous surveys, over 60% of likely voters in the U.S.
support an inclusive federal employment non-discrimination law.
Polling data from 2006 shows that voters are more likely to support a
candidate who votes for an LGBT discrimination law than they are to
And, of course, the TVC. It's all about Diego Sanchez:
When President Bush occupied the White House, Frank knew that Bush would veto ENDA because of its danger to Christians, religious institutions, faith-based groups, and Christian-owned businesses.
What made the ENDA debate almost enjoyable during the last Congress was the major "drama-rama" over which version of ENDA to bring to the floor for a vote.
For months gays and transgender activists fought among themselves over whether or not to include "gender identity" in the bill. The drag queens and transsexuals wanted "gender identity," but Frank finally agreed to remove "gender identity" from the legislation in order to try to get it passed.
However, this is a new Congress and a new President who is a big supporter of all things LGBT. This new bill will include "gender identity," because Frank knows that Obama is cozy with the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) crowd and can be counted on to push the LGBT agenda.
Frank's senior policy advisor on ENDA is Diego Sanchez, who is described as a "transgender." Sanchez is a woman who either went through a sex change operation; or is living as a man, but hasn't had any surgery, or is a she-male who went through half of the operation. If this is the case, Diego had her breasts surgically removed, but still maintains female characteristics below the waist.
If ENDA passes, businesses all over the United States would have to cope with troubled individuals like Diego who has self-hatred for her birth sex. If a business is forced to hire someone like Diego, would she use the women's restroom or the men's restroom? If the company has a gym, would Diego use the women's shower stalls or the men's? Or, would the business have to set up a private restroom for Diego to protect her right to "pee in peace"?