Here's a big reason why queer people are still bitter that ENDA didn't even get a fair shot in Congress.
The Kentucky Fairness Alliance just released poll numbers (conducted by a third-party) that showed, across the board, Kentuckians support antidiscrimination protections for LGBT people. By wide margins.
In Kentucky. That's the state people in Indiana make fun of to feel better about themselves.
Here are some of the results from the poll of registered voters in Kentucky (link to .pdf):
|Area of protection||Strongly agree||Agree||Disagree||Strongly Disagree||Don't know|
The poll also showed strong support for "Gay and lesbian couples deserve the same legal protections as other people," which is why civil union campaigns often involve the Religious Right brandishing the word "marriage" like a weapon. People don't have an issue with the rights as much as the institution.
Positive results also came out a year ago from Utah, the state some gays were willing to boycott two years ago for homophobia.
This should have been a slam-dunk in these past couple of years, but there is still a lot standing in the way of ENDA. The "those who oppose discrimination protections are much more motivated" hypothesis isn't supported by these data (since "strongly disagree" had fewer people than "disagree"); the problem is the politicians.
With such broad support the problem has to be with the ruling elite instead of the people. Perhaps big business is quietly opposing this antidiscrimination law since it gives workers another reason to sue them. Perhaps politicians still mistakenly believe that LGBT issues are radioactive. Perhaps the Democrats didn't want to give too much just yet so that LGBT people would keep on voting for them. Perhaps the sort of people willing to invest themselves in politics and get into high office are just the sort of people who say they support LGBT people publicly and then call us cocksuckers behind our backs. I don't know.
Part of the issue is probably that there isn't much push coming from the community on this other than phone calls and petitions and other low-budget actions. MSNBC doesn't have an anchor devoting a good deal of time to covering ENDA and big, attention-garnering protests focused more on DADT repeal this past year because ENDA's probably a bit too abstract for the people with the money to fund LGBT nonprofits.