Bil Browning

Exclusive Interview: Rep Jared Polis about LGBT legislation

Filed By Bil Browning | December 10, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: Colorado, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, gay rights, LGBT rights, Rep Jared Polis, Victory Fund

While I was in San Francisco for the Victory Fund's Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference, I had a chance to speak with Representative Jared Polis after his plenary panel discussion. We talked about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and other upcoming LGBT legislation.

Rep Polis basically lays out the same ENDA timeline that Rep Andre Carson (D-IN) guest blogged yesterday. I'll be interested to see if he follows through and introduces legislation to protect LGBT people in housing and public accommodations.


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Angela Brightfeather | December 10, 2009 10:33 AM

Bil,

Thanks so much for this interview and thanks for being aware enough to expose the chink in the armor when noting that you talked with Miller's staff and they said they could not talk about the language being tweaked in the ENDA legislation.

I noticed that Congressman Polis's response to that was, "I think that an inclsuive ENDA...should...pass the committee vote.

Did you get the same feeling that I got about his avoidance of talking about the language that is being changed?

This is the same smoke and mirrors that happened with SONDA when the NYS Pride Agenda got behind closed doors with their legislative commmittee to "tweak" out gender language.

I have a few questions.
Are they tweaking any language in ENDA that has any impact on gender expression and identity?

If they are actually doing this, who are they consulting with on these changes and are Transgender people represented in the tweaking and who are they?

You did great, but the more we smoke these answers out from behind closed doors, the more time we will have to deal with them and the more we can get this behind us.

Did you get the same feeling that I got about his avoidance of talking about the language that is being changed?

Actually, no, I didn't. I'd just finished an interview with Rep Tammy Baldwin and asked her the same question. While Rep Polis was a little short and rather vague with his answer, she was much more forthcoming about giving an emphatic "No, it's not an option."

Meghan Stabler | December 10, 2009 3:26 PM

Angela,

I am not aware of ANY discussion to either alter or even remove the wording as it exists today on GI.

Well done, Bil. What I thought was interesting was his reference, in answering your question whether we will have 60 votes, to the Senate attaching ENDA to another bill. He seemed to suggest that attaching it to another bill would insulate it from a filibuster, but I wonder whether that is true. On hate crimes, which was attached to the Defense Authorization bill, there was a motion in the House to remove it from the DA bill, a filibuster on that motion, and a vote to stop the filibuster. Could the same thing happen in the Senate?

Meghan Stabler | December 10, 2009 3:36 PM

Jillian,

Their is a strong chance that Sen. Reid will look to attaching i-ENDA to another bill to secure vote and passage. At this time, we just don't know until we get closer to a date. During private conversations that I had with both Representatives last week I placed emphasis that i-ENDA does have direct impact on jobs, and that as much as the Senate is focused on that issue, it needs to understand that this bill is so closely linked to our ability to be employed. They emphatically understand that.

Additionally Bil and others on this list who attended the LGBT Leadership Conference can confirm just how emotional I got when asking an official question of Rep Baldwin and Polis during the plenary session. I echoed the need for this bill with a croak in my voice and a tear in my eye.

We need to, we must, keep the pressure up with all those that are not currently a co-sponsor, that are members of the Committee on Ed/Labor, and within the Senate.

Meghan

Bill,

Thank you for this interview. I thought he was a little weak with the 'it should pass out of commmittee" comment. With a majority of commitee members being co-sponsors of this legislation it will be marked up, unless he knows something he's keeping quiet on. Here's a questions I'd like to know the answer to; 'what can LBGT folk do to help move this legislation?'

Thanks!!

Great interview, Bil. I love your fly-over state metaphor. I use it all the time pointing out that trans people are geographically independant fly-over state citizens.

At an Equality Maryland reception for Sen. Merkley, I asked him what effect the House delay would have on timing in the Senate. He pretty much made it pretty clear to me that nothing is going to happen in the Senate until the House is done with ENDA. End of February is not real comforting. Saying the Senate has to the end of the year does nothing for my comfidenceon passing ENDA.