It looks like some folks on the Hill think ENDA's dead for this Congress:
Breaking what some have called an informal code of silence adopted by mainline LGBT political organizations, at least four sources familiar with the gay and transgender civil rights bill said the lack of Senate votes became clear long before Republican Scott Brown won his upset victory last week in Massachusetts.
"What we're hearing is there is just no clear path to pass ENDA in the Senate," said one activist familiar with the bill's lobbying effort. "They don't think they have 60 votes to pass it."
Another source with ties to Capitol Hill and national LGBT political groups based in Washington was more definitive.
"ENDA has been off the agenda since before the Massachusetts election because they couldn't secure the votes in the Senate," the source told DC Agenda.
Well, if these insiders wanted to kill the issue, they're doing fine. Postpone it every couple of months, then tell people that it just can't pass. Hopefully people will just accept the fact that medium-sized businesses and corporations should be allowed to cleanse their staffs of queers every few years, just in case they feel like it.
They're blaming the gender identity protections:
Opposition to the gender identity provision, included to help protect transgender people, is among the contributing factors that's prevented supporters from lining up the needed 60 votes to break a filibuster, one of the sources said.
Infuriating, I know. Yet here we are, with US Senators opposing the economic advancement of a sector of the American population because they're worried about showers.
Of course, this is all from unnamed sources, and it should be taken with a grain of salt. Because of these unnamed sources, we don't know who these people are or why they're talking about this, allowing them to say whatever they want without having to accept any of the consequences for their words.
For example, we have no way of knowing if the one anonymous source who mentioned the gender identity protections as a problem was a huge transphobe who wants the gender identity protections removed from the bill, so they decided to create a 2007-esque split-the-baby situation. And before you tell me that's ridiculous, we all know that there are "political insiders" with "ties to[...] national LGBT political groups" who just plain don't like transgender people, and Congressional staffers play journalists all the time with anonymous quotes to gain a political upper hand in Congress. Besides, it's not like that theory can be proven wrong, since we have no idea who's saying what.
But we've known for a while that ENDA's in trouble in the Senate - Jillian Weiss's Senate numbers weren't a solid 60 all the way back in July 2009. The problem is that those numbers haven't changed.
One thing that'll help is increased lobbying, as well as getting earned media attention for ENDA since it polls better than just about every other piece of national LGBT legislation. Getting it through the House could also increase the change the Senate would take a vote on it. And, just because they don't have 60 yes votes for it, that doesn't mean that they can't get enough votes to break the filibuster and then lose a few Senators from more conservative states on the vote for the bill itself. It's happened before, like when Obama famously voted for cloture on Alito's confirmation and then voted against his confirmation.
It's interesting to me the universe LGBT people faced over the past few years: ENDA can't pass because it can't get a supermajority, while Prop 8 passed with 52% of the vote. All while LGB job protections have almost 90% of the public behind them. So many people support them that often people are surprised that we don't have federal job protections already.
Anyway, this Daily Show clip seems appropriate now: