Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

What the DC Agenda Story on ENDA Really Means

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | January 29, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: DC Agenda, employment discrimination, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, gay rights, Harry Reid, LGBT rights, nondiscrimination

The word is out on the street in DC that ENDA is dead, according to Lou Chibbaro, the famed veteran gay reporter at the DC Agenda. The story quotes four anonymous sources from "mainline" LGBT political advocacy groups who say that there are not enough votes in the Senate.

Duh. That was obvious from Day 1. You don't need anonymous sources to say something as obvious as that. We also knew that if the House let ENDA languish into 2010 that the battle was going to be more uphill.

What these sources are really saying, if you read between the lines, is that the DC powers-that-be are abandoning ENDA. Only a few more votes are needed in the Senate. The people who want to kill a bill always lay the blame on the Senate. But it is true that getting those 5 votes would require some serious work by Senator Harry Reid and, gasp, the President. I thought it telling that the President mentioned DADT but not ENDA in his State of the Union Address.

I have no doubt that if I contacted Senator Reid's office, his people would say that he fully supports ENDA and is 100% committed to its passage. It is also quite likely that the House will move forward with ENDA at some point, since there are enough votes in the House. But going through the motions is not the same thing as going hell-bent for leather to ensure passage, which is what would be needed. So it's not completely dead, but what they're saying, if true, is that it is on life-support and the brother-in-law wants to pull the plug.

But the meaning of this story depends on who these so-called anonymous sources are.

The thing we don't know is the motivation behind the statements of these LGBT "insiders."

They may simply be truth-tellers who wanted to unburden their hearts. They may be hoping to put ENDA in the coffin even though it is not really dead. They may be hoping for an easier challenge. Are they staunch DADT repealers, who want to bury ENDA so that DADT can move ahead? Are they transphobes who don't want to have to support trans rights? Perhaps they're hoping that this will help get the trans protections removed? Do they agree with Ann Rostow's elitist comment this week in the San Francisco Bay Times that ENDA is "as useful to 21st century gay rights as a Betamax player"? Are they anti-filibuster advocates, who hope to rile up the LGBT community against the filibuster?

We just don't know enough to determine what these anonymous sources hope to accomplish by spitting on ENDA.

Are they from HRC, NGLTF or NCTE? I'm guessing no, because all of those organizations commented in this story that ENDA is moving right ahead despite the difficulties. So what "mainline" organizations are they from? NCLR? Stonewall Dems? The Victory Fund? SLDN? Maybe it's a series of "moles" inside HRC, secretly copying documents at night with a special camera?

The transphobia idea is given weight by the following quote in the story:

"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."

Advocates have had to do a lot of educating of Congress about LGBT lives and issues to move the bill forward. The fact that opposition to LGBT people is a "contributing factor" to the difficulty in lining up votes is not a reason to throw in the towel. It's a reason to work harder, do more education, and get more powerful allies into the mix.

What the DC Agenda story on ENDA really means is that these anonymous sources have thrown in the towel, and they want the rest of us to say "uncle." They're basically saying that if the rest of us fools want to knock our heads against a brick wall, they won't stop us, but they're busy using their sledgehammer elsewhere. They don't want us kicking and screaming to work harder. They want us to accept their reality. But they don't want to be accountable for saying so.

If it's true -- because we don't know who these anonymous sources are.

But what I want to know is, if I'm going to keep knocking my head against the brick wall, where are the sledgehammers? Where's Harry Reid on this? Where is President Obama? No where, apparently, and busy pushing DADT ahead of ENDA.

If the powers-that-be let this story go unchallenged, that is a much worse sign than these four anonymous Horsemen (or women) of the Apocalypse. We shall see in the coming days if there is any sign of protest.


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From what I heard - and from a DC Agenda employee - is that Lou's sources were "Hill staffers and lobbyists."

But the article says they were from LGBT organizations. How could they be Hill staffers?

As I posted yesterday, one of the things that one anonymous source said was that the gender identity part of the bill was causing problems. That particular fact I thought was irresponsible to publish - it only came from one source, unnamed, uncorroborated, and it's likely to be used later should anyone get the bright idea to split the ENDA again.

This whole situation reminds me of something I read on TPM, also from an anonymous source on the hill:

The worst is that I can't help but feel like the main emotion people in the caucus are feeling is relief at this turn of events. Now they have a ready excuse for not getting anything done. While I always thought we had the better ideas but the weaker messaging, it feels like somewhere along the line Members internalized a belief that we actually have weaker ideas. They're afraid to actually implement them and face the judgement of the voters. That's the scariest dynamic and what makes me think this will all come crashing down around us in November.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/01/relieved.php#more?ref=fpblg

It sounds like they'd really like to roll over and play dead, if only the pesky unwashed masses would just shut up and accept that nothing's ever going to improve.

Let's see:

The repeal of DADT only has the words, "sexual orientation" in it, and whenever the "powers to be" talk about it, they only mention "gay, lesbian and bisexual." Trans people have been kicked out under DADT, but that don't mean shit to many GL organizations, and as a previous article shown, it don't mean shit to many trans people. But none of them were ever interrogated while DADT existed, or never served in the first place. TAVA doesn't see their indifference as being relevant.

ENDA would cover "sexual orientation" AND "gender identity." So, for the President to support the repeal of DADT over the passage of ENDA allows him to avoid the "ick factor" of supporting something for them "icky trannies." (Intentional usage of the word to add to the disrespect we are getting.) Gays and lesbians have become more "homogenized" in the American culture. (Intentional usage of that word, too.)

"Where's Harry Reid on this? Where is President Obama?"

Where are the American people on this?

What's that? They're over there? As far away as they can get?

And look! It's Obama and Reid, and Pelosi. The whole gang is over there with them! Imagine that.

Until we change the public's minds, we can't expect politicians to be heroes or saviors or sledgehammers. We don't have the votes in the Senate, and we won't until we get the votes in the country.

Excuse me, but studies show that the numbers are well over majority in favor across America, like over 70%. So your assertion is just not in accord with the facts.

I recommend you read Gail Collin's editorial, "The 10 Percent Rules." It will really clarify the dynamics of the Senate, why "close" is nowhere near close enough, and why that 70% comes up painfully short.

It gets really painful when Gail says this:

There are 100 members of the Senate. But as Brown is currently reminding us, because of the filibuster rule, it takes only 41 to stop any bill from passing.

U.S. population: 307,006,550.

Population for the 20 least-populated states: 31,434,822.

That means that in the Senate, all it takes to stop legislation is one guy plus 40 senators representing 10.2 percent of the country."

I'm sorry, Dr. Weiss. We can't just have 70% with us. We have to have population saturation.

wtf Jillian. We've been over this before - your national polling data doesn't matter. Senators base their votes on their State's polling data. That's the problem.

We have 25 anti-LGBT States in America and that means 50 anti-LGBT Senators.

Also, the "powers to be" that you love to reference are "us." Figure that out and you can make some real progress.

Jillian asked:

"What these sources are really saying, if you read between the lines, is that the DC powers-that-be are abandoning ENDA."

I think many people have been saying STOP banging your head against the wall. Of course, you may continue, but you are on your own.

What is missing from the DC Agenda article, Gay Inc., and this website is an acknowledgement of the problem and an EFFORT to figure out a solution. A real, sustainable solution we could ALL participate in.

Everyone appreciates your efforts Jillian, but at some point it may be helpful to step away from the Wall and try to understand the "wall." There is nothing mysterious or even complicated about the problem. Nancy Pelosi and many others have acknowledged the problem with the US Senate (the Wall). They didn't suggest any solutions, but they've made it clear it is an immovable wall, at least for now.

Have a glass of wine or roll a joint and relax. Instead of continuing the good fight, pause for a moment and focus on the problem: how can we remove that wall? WHAT will it take?

I say it is by enrolling our fellow citizens, not chasing the false hope of a "political solution." Please, give that some thought. Of course, the wine and pot are optional (my disclaimer).

battybattybats battybattybats | January 30, 2010 9:57 AM

Hmm enrolling fellow citizens. Good point.

First i reccomend we reach out to the 2%-10% of the nation that are closeted crossdressers and try and get more of them active on political issues. That'll be tough though, that group has been held back by cis concerns especially the concerns of the already married ones who keep a stranglehold on many CD sites and orgs keeping them non-political and non-diverse for fear of scaring the wives.

What about Transphobes amongst GLB Andrew? They seem to hold us back and be a big part of 'the wall' Do you think we should consider also total shaming and condemning of any GLB people who are less than 100% Trans supportive? No punches pulled? Every GLB ally would having a duty to show that anti-TG attitudes cannot be tolerated amongst GLB people? Do you think when anti-trans comments = social political and career death then that might help things?

So once we have the oppressed masses of CDs onside and have eliminated the hypocrits from GLB who next should we get on side?

I mean in Australia federal anti-discrimination legislation polls at 85%, not 70% 85%. And of that the majority are Christians. Also only 4% strongly oppose while over 40% strongly supports. Shamefully the government holds back for fear of offending religious lobbyists who do not represent the vast majority of christians.

So we even have the vast majority of Christians on our side, though not the religious lobbyists. So who else do we need to reach out to do you reckon?

The President called for a Jobs Bill right?
So why not have our Friends in the House attach ENDA to whatever bill the house writes for jobs?
The "Elephants" don't want to be seen as against jobs during this election cycle? What with 10% unemployment and the "teabaggers" need a job to go back to work to. So they won't have time to protest and discriminate.

I know it's to simplistic to think politicians will do the right thing.

Tamara Jeanne | January 30, 2010 5:41 PM

For the past several months I've been working within my state with the ACLU and EQSD to help get support for gender idenity inclusion in ENDA. We need to keep the presure on congress to move ENDA forward without sacrificing gender idenity.

I agree that attaching ENDA to a jobs bill or some other "must pass legislation" is a good idea. That's how the Mathew Sheppard Hate Crimes bill was finally passed and signed into law last year. It was attached to the defense bill, after years of failing to pass it as a stand-alone bill.

Attaching ENDA to a jobs bill makes a lot of sense. After all ENDA is really about jobs. Congress does that sort of thing all the time to get things passed that would be very difficult to pass as stand-alone legislation. Like yrs ago, when Congress passed a large pay raise for themselves by attaching it to a school lunch bill. No one wants to be known as being against feeding the children in the school lunch program as that would look bad in an election year.

Last year there was talk about that if ENDA didn't get passed through the House by the end of the year, that it would be difficult to get it through the Senate because everyone would be to busy and concerned with the up coming mid-term elections. This is certainly one of the factors that has come into play here with this current situation.

What would it take to get an inclusive ENDA attached to a 2010 jobs bill? Not being to knowledgeable about such a process, I don't know what would need to be done to move in that direction. However, I do think that this is an idea well worth exploring. I am willing to help in what ever way I can.

I'd like to hear Jillian's and other peoples thoughts on this idea and what work would be needed to move in that direction with ENDA.

My thought is that attaching ENDA to a jobs bill or some other relevant legislation makes eminent sense. There are well over 50 votes for ENDA. If the leadership wanted it passed, they could do it. They just don't wanna.

Angela Brightfeather | January 29, 2010 5:45 PM

Andrew I get so tired of your rants about selling the "people" about ENDA that I'm beginning to think that the wall is people like you who refuse to understand that outside of the religious bigots who scream bloody murder every time ENDA gets close to a vote, most people either don't give a damn about it, are all in favor of it, or think that we are already protected. That's no guess. That is a verified reality taken from polls already done in some of the shakiest areas of the country when it comes to ENDA.

I have been asking where is HRC, Barney and others on all this and as a person who has been involved with ENDA since it's beginning I find it very curious they are not saying anything at all right now.

I also find it curious that most of us who are stymied by this recent event, don't remember the "rumors" that were flying around a few years after ENDA was changed to be exclusive and before the new legislation was drawn up. Does everyone have such lapses of memory when it comes to being able to put things in context? Doesn't anyone remember the favored rumor of two years ago touted openly by some board members and insiders at HRC after getting pummeled by United ENDA and tons of GLBT orgnizations, blaming Frank and HRC for killing the inclusive version with false surveys, shower remarks and our favorite term "incrementalism"? After all that beating up, a number of them said screw it and screw the Trans people and lets move on without them and let them sit and stew in their own gravy. We dont need this abuse and it's hurting our fund raising and it's making us look like Republicans. I remember that, but it seems that no one else does.

To be honest Andrew, I think that if your looking for a wall, that instead you should try sharpening up your memory and looking first behind the wall that has always been there and I don't mean the Senate. I mean the transphobes in the GLBT movement that prefer to think that having jobs comes second to being married and becoming soldiers. There is now no doubt in my mind that because us Trans people got pissed about being cut out of ENDA and actually did something about it for once, we are now being told to shift on our own and don't try and play in the big leagues because we will just move along and forget you ever existed. Your voice isn't big enough and we don't have to say anything about ENDA because we really don't need it as much as you do anymore and hey, who likes to be yelled at by a bunch of Trans people and have the entire GLBT community think they are A-Holes and hurt our funding, when we could be moving along with our lives, getting married and going out to Afganistan and helping to kill a few more kids and goats.

In the mean time, lets tell them that they have to go out and educate the whole friggin world again and keep them busy feeling guilty that they haven't done what they were supposed to do or enough of it at least. Lets tell them that the shower thingy is still a big, huge problem and that legislation should be based on what might happen as opposed to what actually does happen. Oh, and then lets shut up and never be heard again on this issue of ENDA. Lets tell the President he doesn't have to worry about ENDA if he just allows us to get killed while serving our country and that it will be much easier to sell ENDA after we become more mainstream by marriage and we have a few medals to show around the next time the "right wing" starts to say that we are immoral and bound for hell.

Andrew and Jillian, it's time you both understand that ENDA needs to be taken to the streets to get it passed. We need to rally, picket, boycott and become the "teabaggers for change and equality" before they start to get the message. In order to win the fight, you have to take the fight to the enemy and counting heads or convincing people who don't care, is about as productive as counting beans or talking to the wind when it comes to making any issue "The Issue".

Angela, If other LGBT issues were passing the US Senate AND trans issues were NOT, then you'd have an argument. ALL LGBT-related issues are DOA in the US Senate - all of them.

Plus, your suggestion that we emulate the "tea-baggers" is odd. Why would we want to be laughed at? Rallying, picketing and demanding? That doesn't help. We need to enroll people to support our plight. That's best done with conversation, not confrontation.

I think I'll be taking a vacation and doing some sight seeing in DC in a few weeks.... and do something to move ENDA even if it is just talking to my senators who say they'll vote for it but in fact may be retired by then.

I truely believe that they will once again send up a bill minus the T and all of this is the smokescreen getting us ready to be tossed off the bus yet again.After all they passed it last time in the house minus the T useing these same arguments.

Nothing LGBT passes the 111th Congress now or in the near future. That means L - G - B and T (and Q).

What's happening now is that anything LGBT-related is DOA is the US Senate. All the head-banging in the world won't change that reality. Neither will more calls, emails, protests or civil disobedience. WE are the only thing that can change that, but first we need to get over the false hope of a political solution. I hope we can, because if we don't we're in for a long wait.

battybattybats battybattybats | January 30, 2010 10:03 AM

And what exactly would a non-political solution look like. Specifics please sans rhetoric.

Give examples. Details. Suggestions without nebulous buzzwords.

It would mean people join us and stand with us for full equality. That would be more effective than the false hope of a non-existent political solution.

battybattybats battybattybats | January 30, 2010 7:03 PM

Oh dear, more rhetoric and buzzwords. Can you actually say anything of real value and answer the actual question?

We have in Australia 85% of the population on our side regarding general discrimination with over 40% strongly in favour and only 4% strongly oppossed and thats with Gender Identity included. It's 60% on full total marriage. That means THE PEOPLE do STAND WITH US for FULL EQUALITY.

So give a DIRECT answer of SPECIFIC PRACTICAL WAYS we could improve the situation. No more smoke and mirrors. Don't come the raw prawn, no more bulldust. I can use flowery language too cobber. Give specific direct goals you think are achievable. Give me say some you think could be achieved within 12 months. And give suggestions how.

Here's some fancy rhetoric: We already have won over the majority of the present living generations, having reached a greater pinnacle of TBLG acceptance than has existed since the rise of homophic and transphobic domination. We have the majority on our side. Most people now do agree with the idea of equality for TBLG people. Most do not discriminate against us. But the tiny proportion of those who are still oppossed to us are loud, fanatical and are over-represented in finacial, political, media and organisational power. Our own numbers are greater, the numbers of those who agree with us are greater. The essential foundation of full social equality is laid with majority support already existing and growing with the new generation. Now the extension of that into full legal equality is the next step and we have the power at hand to produce that now! all we need to do is to be a small fraction as active as the tiny minority attempting to prevent us and we have won. We merely need to do just a little more than we already have done and lasting victory is ours.

See AndrewW, i can use nice rhetoric too. Now where's your specific non-rhetorical solution minus all the nebulous buzzwords.

Your "rhetoric" wasn't very nice. You continue to suggest that others have the power, not us. You want someone else to "win" our battle - I want us to. Until you get over that false hope, we can't win.

battybattybats battybattybats | February 1, 2010 6:26 AM

What wasn't very nice about it AndrewW?

Where do i say i want others to win this for me? I do not say that.

Where do i say we don't have power AndrewW?
I do not say that.
In fact I SAID THE EXACT OPPOSITE AndrewW!

Read what i wrote this time AndrewW, as you clearly didn't read it or must not have comprehended it.

And again you have dodged the question!
So drop the claptrap and give specifics. Details. No more generics. Give concrete specifics.

Meanwhile I'll be actually doing something by trying to push for a bill of rights in my country, the only western democracy without one which is oppossed specifically because of it's effects on TBLG discrimination!

So where are the SPECIFICS?

Kathy Padilla | January 29, 2010 8:40 PM

Really - when people say that any particular concern is "holding up the bill" - what they really mean - and what we should be saying is that - bigotry is holding up the bill.

That people are saying that there is too much discrimination to allow them to pass a nondiscriminiation bill. Regardless of whether the excuses given for continueing discrimination - that there are people who don't want gays or lesbians to be teachers, or who think it will lead to the repeal of DADT and soldiers having to shower with gay men; or whether they're saying taht they don't want to see transgender or gay people teaching in schools or that it's the slippery slope to marriage.

Those reported to be saying this are saying that it's just to hard for them to address discrimination when it's so pervasive - could you give them something easier to do - that no one will disagree with. They'll be happy to stand up for lgbt peoples equality - once it's already achieved.

Otherwise - these anonymous Hill People wouldn't be talking about the difficulty in obtaining cloture - they would be busily and excitedly talking about how they can get this through by reconcilliation, or by attaching it to another bill as was done with hate crimes - or by the more exotic methods like the reconcilliation side car process.

And we should point out to them that we agree that bigotry and discrimination is so pervasive that the bigots would be fighting hard to preserve the right to discriminate - we agree with you. It's stillworth trying these other approaches and worth putting people on record so you know where you stand and so that the bigots will have to be public regarding their bigotry.

And come back again next year, if needed. And next year.

But don't tell us that the discrimination we face isn't important enough to try. That we'll hold agianst you - loosing - well - we do that together. Holding us back - you do that alone.

Kathy Padilla | January 29, 2010 8:48 PM

"Ann Rostow's elitist comment this week in the San Francisco Bay Times that ENDA is "as useful to 21st century gay rights as a Betamax player"?"

Ah yes - good old Ann. Who can forget when the two lesbians murdered their trans boarder for her money and cut up her body into little pieces - how Ann thought what was important (in her column - was that the Texas Triangle?) wasn't the horrible fate of the victim - but how it was an example of how lesbians are portrayed as predators.

She had so little respect for the victim that she tought it cute to joke about the victim's torturous murder "is that a humerous in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

What a complete ass.

Crash2Parties | January 30, 2010 3:23 AM

I am quickly becoming convinced that DC Agenda is a very, very anti-trans biased site. Frankly, I'm getting tired of my pro-trans comments getting deleted. While I was waiting for the last one to disappear (the show up when posted, then get removed) I did some searching of the site using their own engine and a couple others. My conclusion is that they really should remove any reference to 'T' when mentioning themselves. They are a gay male site first, a GL-with-privilege site second and everyone else is cannon fodder. So, what the DC Agenda story on ENDA really means is that their Agenda is pro-gay and anti-trans and not much more.

I don't think it's animus toward LGBT people - or trans people, if we want to split hairs - that holds back ENDA in Washington. We are, however, excellent horses fit for trading, if you catch the metaphor. Give 'em hate crimes, but then trade away the other bills for more political capital on Healthcare, healthcare, healthcare, and even that's starting to look like egg on their face.

We aren't the only ones dealing with that short-straw treatment. Look at Stupak, for example, or the lack of motion in immigration reform. Apparently the Dems either forgot how to multitask or are so singularly focused on their big baby bill that all else simply exists as negotiation tools to get that big "Mission Accomplished" banner.

Someone mentioned that the anonymous source may simply be rousing us for a fight against the fillibuster rule in Senate. He didn't have to whip up anger in me; frankly, I think the removal of that abysmal rule would be a _huge_ victory for our government actually being able to make progress on things for once.

So remember, kiddies: act straight or pass. Disgusting as it is, it's all I can think to offer as a solution to the problem for 2010. I have a sinking feeling that this isn't going to be our year.

As a journalist, I need to defend the "sources" aspect of Lou's article. [Even though he & I both work in this town our paths rarely ever cross, however, he is one of the most respected LGBT correspondents here in Washington.]
Lou's sources are more than credible as a couple of them have mentioned to me in passing that the ENDA is rapidly looking as though its pretty much dead in the water.
One or possibly several of the commentators above nailed the essence of the thorn in the side of the Congressional members who are opposed to the bill. It's pure phobia of BOTH L&G plus T with some B thrown in.
The legislation also does not enjoy a true measure of support of advocates on the Hill which MY sources credit to a no longer filibuster proof Senate and lukewarm at best support from House members who have previously voiced their acquiescence with ENDA's passage.

Now an observation on this: "I am quickly becoming convinced that DC Agenda is a very, very anti-trans biased site..."
I have found both Executive Editor Kevin Naff & Publisher Lynne Brown to be VERY supportive of the Transgendered community & if your perception is that this is not true then you really should contact Lynne or Kevin directly to express and register your complaints:
DCAgenda Phone: (202) 747-2077
Fax: (202) 747-2070

Publisher
Lynne J. Brown ext. 8075
lbrown@dcagenda.com

Editor
Kevin Naff ext. 8088
knaff@dcagenda.com

Crash2Parties | January 31, 2010 12:44 PM

That would be wonderful if it carried through to whoever has the ability to delete story comments. Unless you want to count on plausible deniability, *please* tell whoever is doing so to stop deleting my pro-trans comments, as there must be others beside mine that are disappearing. Until then your message is mere rhetoric.

If you are not convinced as to the sincerity of what I stated above Mr./Ms. Crash person, then here is MY phone number: (202) 556-0877
I will be more than happy to pass along your stated concerns as I am 100% positive that Lynne & Kevin would take your complaint quite seriously.
I can also be reached via my blogspot [http://brodylevesque.blogspot.com/] or via email at theroadtraveler@gmail.com

I appreciate you wanting to defend the sources in the DC Agenda article, Brody, but I have to wonder what you mean when you say that the legislation does not enjoy a "true measure" of support on the Hill. It is clear that 229 members of the House have pledged to vote for inclusive ENDA, and about ten more yes votes are also likely. Are you expressing a general feeling, or have you actually counted the numbers? If you're expressing a general feeling, that is okay, but don't exaggerate.

Good morning Dr. Weiss. In response to your question I have done a count, thus far not significantly shy of your quoted figure of 229, but coming in at 217 members that are supportive.[Solidly]
The real issue apparently is a lack of convincing leadership of the majority, partly due to the overwhelming negative thrust of the Health Care debacle coupled with constituent's anger regarding employment, on backing this measure fully.
I also need to point out that Bil was correct when he stated that LGBT lobbyists are backing off somewhat. The Hill shuffle also continues on the measure with a merry-go-round effect. Consider this please Doctor Weiss; Last week, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee,Rep. Ike Skelton, a Missouri Democrat, told reporters in Kansas City, referring to DADT;

“We’re in the middle of two wars, and I don’t want anything that is disturbing or upsetting to the troops.”

This is also the framework of the attitude of House Democrats currently on ENDA. Whether or not House Speaker Pelosi can rally the troops on this issue, just like the issue re: DADT, at this moment madam, looks bleak.

Note, I said bleak, NOT impossible.

There is also what I personally refer to as the Congressional Weasel Effect, by which members speak out of both sides of their mouths to journalists oft times in an attempt to obfuscate the issue.

Thank you Dr. Weiss.

The problem - see Hawai'i.

"You might want to note that Hawaii is a one-party state; the state house of reps is 45-6 Democrat-Republican and the state senate is 23-2."

Yet civil unions - not marriage, but civil unions - couldn't pass.

Not even when the Dems have an 80-90% majority.

Because GLBs always vote Democrat, no matter what the Dems do or don't do. Unless we provide them with a significant downside to their continued behaviour, nothing will change.

Angela Brightfeather | February 1, 2010 9:31 AM

Andrew,

"Plus, your suggestion that we emulate the "tea-baggers" is odd. Why would we want to be laughed at? Rallying, picketing and demanding? That doesn't help. We need to enroll people to support our plight. That's best done with conversation, not confrontation."

I never said we had to be exactly like them, but after the recent election in MA. Hardly anyone I know is laughing at them any longer. Besides, there is nothing new about being laughed when it comes to GLBT issues. Grow some skin for Pete's sake and stop thinking that your Ghandi.

My point is that all your talk is just smoke and mirrors and we have done this skit many times before and it's now time to take some action. That is what activists are all about by the way.

There are at least two upcoming events that could be the foundation of a movement to pass ENDA now and organize people in "street actions". The first is NGLTF's Creating Change and the second is the IFGE Convention in DC. The latter of which is jam packed with Trans leaders from across the country. The combination of actions and plans taken at both of these conventions could jump start ENDA again, if the activists get active about it.

The opportunities for direct action for ENDA are everywhere we look. Setting up phone and computer groups to act immediately and supply people to take direct actions like sit-ins, rallies, boycotts, pickets at events, etc. is what is needed. We need to have signs, posters, town hall getherings, meetings with Congressional and Senate representatives. We need spokepersons assigned to deal with the press and get the word out that ENDA is being held hostage and why.

Andrew, it's time to stop the talking and start the action if we expect to make ENDA an issue equal to DADT and SSM. All of your taking the message to the people to convince their Senators
is just so much bull. The only way that the people are going to hear the message to take to their Senator, is if we start to yell about it loud enough so that it becomes news.

The lack of action on the part of the GLBT community about ENDA, is an acceptance that it will go nowhere in the future. As an activist, I refuse to listen to prattle about numbers and circumstances that "might" be affective, when I know that we can be affective if we start to push people hard and get int he faces about ENDA. You may not like doing it that way, but experiencing your version of a slow death of ENDA is far more painful. Even if your 100% correct in your thinking, why do people like you refuse to believe that this has to be fought on every front and that taking it to the steets is any less affective that showering the issue with meanlingless vocabulary.

"The only way that the people are going to hear the message to take to their Senator, is if we start to yell about it loud enough so that it becomes news."

Please provide evidence that lobbying (or writing emails or making calls or visits) has actually changed the mind and vote of a US Senator regarding an LGBT issue.

Also, please provide evidence that direct action, protesting or civil disobedience has changed any minds regarding LGBT issues - either a politician or any fellow American. Find something in the last 20 years, please.