We in the LGBT community have been made many promises. We have been patient, more or less, although somewhat mystified as to why our legislative agenda has not really moved much beyond passing ONE bill (the hate crimes bill, which, while important, will affect very few people).
Meanwhile, the people of Virginia are up in arms over their new Republican Governor refusing job protections for gay workers in public employment. People were marching in the streets over there. The Governor has been busy backtracking.
But in the rest of the U.S., where job protections for LGBT workers is non-existent on the federal level, where frustration on the part of LGBT citizens is beginning to boil over, where we have to hide and duck and lie about our sexual orientation and gender identity or accept unemployment and underemployment...in that alternate universe, the Democratic Speaker of the House from San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi, is stomping on our rights by refusing to move ENDA.
It is time to start calling the office of Nancy Pelosi, and demanding that she move ENDA (HR 3017). Her office telephone number is 202-225-4965.
Word is trickling out of Washington, D.C. that the big holdup is not Chairman George Miller, in whose House Committee ENDA is currently languishing. Chairman Miller is ready to move.
The big holdup is not Representative Barney Frank, who has been championing ENDA since its introduction in 1994. He has promised a House vote in March, and he is standing firm on that promise.
No, the big holdup is the Speaker of the House, Democrat of San Francisco. According to reports from D.C., although her office is saying that she supports the job protections of ENDA -- she is actually telling Chairman George Miller and Representative Barney Frank that she does not want ENDA to move because it will interfere with health reform.
Some of you may ask why I don't give her email address. The reason is that it is time for you to get off your keyboard and start taking actions that count. Emails don't cut it. If you want job protections, you had better learn to ask in real time, where legislative votes happen. They dump those emails into the sea. Receptionist time is valuable.
202-225-4965. Punch those buttons.
It is time to call, and it is time for direct action. Citizens of San Francisco, where Speaker Pelosi holds her base of power with the consent of the large LGBT community there, it is time to start talking to your Representative.
Yes, DADT repeal is important. But in case you haven't noticed -- they are lining up to make sure that it doesn't happen this year, talking about year-long studies and military opposition. Sure, let's kick ass and take names to move that along. But don't drop the bird you've got in the hand.
That's their old trick -- the same trick I used use on my toddler 17 years ago. When he cried because he wanted a toy he couldn't have, I would start singing, or tickling, or making funny faces. It worked, because he couldn't hold his attention for more than two seconds. He literally forgot to cry. The public is the same way.
They are standing in the corner, singing about ducks or some other interesting nonsense, putting their underwear on their heads and making their eyebrows do fascinating things probably not intended by nature. Pretty engaging stuff, oh yes. But don't be fooled. You're not getting that damned toy.
Let's start calling Speaker Pelosi every day until we hear that the vote is moving forward. I will continue to write on this topic every day until I hear that the vote is moving. Sure, let's lobby our local Congressmembers too. But we've got enough votes in the House. What we need is spine in the leadership.
202-225-4965. Punch those buttons.