Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Montana's Max Baucus: Legislator of the Day

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | September 16, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: employment discrimination, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, Max Baucus, Montana

Montana is a Baucus.jpgkey state in the fight for ENDA.

Senator Baucus's colleague, Senator Tester, has indicated his support for ENDA privately. Will Senator Baucus support ENDA?

Please call him today to ask for his support.

Facts and contact info after the jump.

Senator Baucus cosponsored a previous bill with sexual orientation and voted for the hate crimes bill. So that's a good sign.

On a side note, according to Wikipedia, the 2002 Montana elections got national attention when Baucus's opponent, state senator Mike Taylor, accused Baucus of having implied that Taylor was gay in a campaign ad. The ad, which alleged that Taylor had embezzled funds from the cosmetology school he once owned, showed footage from the early 1980s of Taylor massaging another man's face while wearing a tight suit with an open shirt. Taylor dropped out of the race and Baucus won with 63 percent of the vote. However, the ad was paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, not by the Baucus campaign.

Given Baucus's recent record, it looks like he is, in fact, a friend of the LGBT community.

Please call him: DC phone - 202-224-2651 Local phone - 406-657-6790. (Click here for email.)

Meanwhile, Senator Tester has confirmed his support for ENDA in a letter to Projector Bobbie (comment 3). He also previously voted for the hate crimes bill.

I note that Montana's only Representative, Denny Rehberg, voted against ENDA in 2007. If you want to contact him, he's at 406-443-7878.

If you want to see info on the ENDA target list for the Senate, click here.

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This is Senator Baucus's response to my request for his support. Frankly, my response from Senator Testor was near as supportive as this.


September 15, 2009

Ms. Roberta Zenker
444 S Park Ave
Helena, Montana 59601-6340

Dear Roberta:

Thank you for getting in touch regarding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of 2009. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

Current federal law provides basic legal protection against employment discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin or disability, but not sexual orientation.

H.R.2981, The Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009, has passed the House and is currently pending in the Senate. This legislation would extend these protections by prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Specifically, it would bar employers from using a person's sexual orientation as the basis for employment decisions including hiring, firing, promotion or compensation.

I support this extension of civil rights provisions. I believe we must ensure that all people enjoy the same rights and privileges accorded in the Constitution. Protection of individual rights has been one of the greatest strengths of this nation for over twocenturies. This legislation does not provide any special rights or privileges. I am committed to ensuring that all Americans can live and work in a discrimination-free society.

As you may know, while this legislation would apply to most employers, there is a provision that exempts religious organizations, including both denominational and non-denominational religious schools. This strives to protect the rights of religious groups by allowing them to make employment decisions consistent with their beliefs. The exemptions for religious organizations and schools are identical to those found in TitleVII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The armed forces are also exempted.

Please rest assured that should this legislation come before me in the United States Senate, I will keep your thoughts firmly in mind.

Thanks again for getting in touch. It is always a pleasure hearing from folks back home. Please do not hesitate contacting me in the future regarding issues that are important to you.
With best personal regards, I am


Max Baucus

I am cheering wildly here, as I move Senator Baucus from the "unconfirmed" column to the "confirmed yes" column on the Senate spreadsheet. Excellent work, Bobbie. So we now have from 58 likely yes votes in the Senate. (I should note, as a matter of caution, that there are only 49 confirmed yes votes, and 9 that haven't said anything but who I think are likely to vote yes.)

Hey Bobbie,

I am the chief editor for Out Words the LGBTIQ paper serving the state of MT and would love to publish your letter if you would permit it. Please let me know.