Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

ENDA: Reading the Tea Leaves

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | November 23, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: employment discrimination, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, House Committee on Education and Labor, Markup, Postponement

It was a surprise to most people that the markup of ENDA, scheduled for last Wednesday morning at 10 am, was abruptly postponed on Monday night at 6:30 pm, heralded by a terse red notice on the House Committee on Education and Labor website. After all, ENDA had been touted for months as the next promise to be kept to our community, with LGBT House leaders embracing a vote in September or October.

But in a city like DC, where reading tea leaves is a high art, it really shouldn't have been much of a surprise. Rumors of an ENDA postponement appeared two weeks ago. Congressman Frank told a reporter that ENDA could be voted on "in February," and that the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations bill (DPBO) is first in line before ENDA. When I wrote about these rumors, and the major concerns about pushing ENDA into a midterm election campaign timeframe, my politico friends took me to task. I was told to "calm down and listen up." "There's no delay on ENDA in the House," he said. Another one said "Barney just made a mistake. Don't make too much of it. You're panicking. It's not time to panic yet."

Barney Frank is many things, but he did not become the most powerful U.S. Representative in DC because he has messy accidents in public in front of news reporters.

Fast forward two weeks, to today, and we now know that the rumors were absolutely correct. The ENDA markup was postponed a week ago for "technical amendments." Instead of the usual procedure of setting a date a week or two later to give enough time to address the issues, no date has been set for the markup. The Committee on Education and Labor is saying it hopes to reschedule the markup in December, but no guarantees. But it's full speed ahead on DPBO, which had its markup on time last week, and which the Advocate reports will be voted on by the end of the year and rushed off to the Senate.

And now Congress is out of session until next week. Chairman George Miller should never have postponed this, but now that he has, he needs to move ENDA first thing next week. But there's more bad news after the jump.

A Narrow Window for ENDA

The ENDA delay is ominous, and likely to be long. As The New York Times reported yesterday, a massive legislative logjam is building up in the Senate.. Once the Senate is done debating health care, there will be dozens of priority bills.

At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is setting a new legislative priority: the immediate creation of a jobs bill from scratch in the House, and Senator Reid has said the same for the Senate. Jobs are, of course, very important, but that effort will likely suck all the oxygen from the room for quite a while. Delaying ENDA puts it behind everything else. And then midterm elections will hit. And DADT is scheduled for next year, and DADT could easily supercede ENDA.

This delay is also giving the fundies more time to heat up their branding irons. In addition, the more delay, the more that the Committee doing the "tweaks" is going to start getting pressure to tinker with the "gender identity" provisions, as suggested by The Advocate in an article last week: "The Gender (Identity) Divide."

If you ask me, I see a narrow window for ENDA to get through, and yet ENDA is being held back for no good reason in the House Education and Labor Committee.

When I read the tea leaves, what I see is "NO ENDA." Let me say this as delicately as I can: It's f*cking time to f*cking panic.

When should we panic if not now? When it's too late to do anything about it?

No Further Delay Is Needed

The ostensible reasons given for the delay don't add up, and the amount of delay is unconscionable. The Advocate said it was so that lawyers could "tweak" language on disparate impact, double recovery and attorney's fees.

What tweaking is really needed? What have they been doing since June when this bill was introduced?

Let's examine this. The first ostensible reason for delay was the issue of "disparate impact." There are two types of employment discrimination cases: 1) disparate treatment and 2) disparate impact. "Disparate treatment" means the employer treats an employee disparately, or differently, because of their identity. Disparate impact," on the other hand, is, as the Advocate explained:

Disparate impact is a type of legal case filed against an employer with an employment practice that does not appear to be overtly discriminatory but is nonetheless discriminatory in practice. Herwitt said the lawyers are working to ensure that such cases will not be allowed under ENDA...

Part of the legislative compromise under which ENDA is going forward is that it will cover "disparate treatment" cases, but not "disparate impact." So, let see if we understand this. The lawyers are worried that ENDA will cover both types of cases, and they want to "tweak" that.

But wait....what's this? ENDA Section 4(g) already says this:

(g) Disparate Impact- Only disparate treatment claims may be brought under this Act.

So...it seems that ENDA's language doesn't need any tweaking. It only allows disparate treatment claims, and not disparate impact claims. It has been this way since it was introduced in June. One can always change a comma or two, but it should have been done before June, or at latest after the House hearings in September, when a witness, Camille Olson, brought them up. Why wait until the end of November the day before the markup? (More on this available at the National Center for Transgender Equality's blog, "The Disparate Impact Non-Issue," by Harper Jean Tobin, one of the smartest young lawyers I know.)

Another item brought up is "double recovery." This refers to the fear that, since one is allowed in federal court to sue based on more than one cause of action, one could receive damages under more than one cause of action. Someone could sue under ENDA, and under another federal law, such as Title VII. Would they get twice the monetary award for doing so? It is ridiculous to think they could. This is not a new issue, and such a fear is groundless. The law has a long-standing doctrine called "election of remedies," under which courts routinely ensure that double recovery does not occur. As the Supreme Court has long noted, it "goes without saying that the courts can and should preclude double recovery by an individual." See, for example, General Telephone v. EEOC, 446 U.S. 318, 333 (1980).

So, we don't really need language to prevent double recovery.

The last item mentioned is "attorney fees." ENDA expands the right to attorney fees beyond that awardable under Title VII, the current federal discrimination statute. Title VII says that attorney fees can only be awarded by the court to the winning party in "an action or proceeding," i.e., a lawsuit in court. By contrast, if someone merely files an complaint with the EEOC, which is an administrative agency, and it never goes to a federal court, then no attorney fees can be awarded. But ENDA would allow attorney fees in that situation.

I can understand the objection to giving greater rights under ENDA than under Title VII. The solution? Omit one word from ENDA. Instead of referring to "an action
or administrative proceeding" in the attorney fees section, the language should read "an action or proceeding," the same as in Title VII.

It doesn't take weeks or months to remove one word, does it?

The idea that some major postponement was necessary to "tweak" the language of ENDA -- at least for these items -- is ridiculous. I don't lay this postponement at the feet of Chairman George Miller. I have no doubt he is taking cues from his LGBT allies in the House: Congressman Barney Frank, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, and Congressman Jared Polis. (If that's not true, then it says our community is even more out of touch, so I prefer to believe that Barney Frank blessed this arrangement.)

What are our leaders in DC doing? Why are they giving us such lame excuses for delay? If there is some real strategic reason for delay, let's have it.

Going Nowhere Fast

Normally, a Committee would announce a date a week or two hence if a short postponement were needed. They wouldn't just postpone it with "no clear date for rescheduling" as I was told when I called the Committee last week. They wouldn't be telling callers that there are "no guarantees" that it will be rescheduled in December.

There's only a month left before the end of the year. Clearly, they're buying time for some reason, and it's not about the tweaks mentioned.

As much as I know they have our interests at heart, I also know that our leaders are politicians and subject to many other pressures. Their timing on ENDA is a mistake. It will increasingly lose momentum as time drags on, and then it will hit the midterm elections.

And then there will suddenly be many reasons why ENDA can't be done this year, or ever. Let's brainstorm to figure out how to get ENDA moving again. If you have action suggestions, please do comment. I'm starting to lose steam.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

I never fail to be disappointed in the unflagging ability for LGBT Democrat appeasers to step up and defend the right of a political party over a community - its own people - that desperately needs attention and justice.

These people need to be rooted out and admonished just as much as we would scold and condemn a Blue Dog Democrat or a Log Cabin Republican.

There is no reason that cheer leading LGBT Democrat sycophants should not be called out for their foolish naivete when it comes to politics. They think that by standing on the sidelines and supporting The Party that they are actually participating in creating change - no matter what the evidence (or history) has shown.

We need to get rid of the pom-poms and the idea that sitting at the table is good enough. We need to be jumping up and down on that table and withholding our money and any verbal support to the Party if we want their attention.

Far too many LGBTs give it away over and over again and WE ALL pay for their complicity in party politics. If Mary Cheney can be loathed for her selfishness, then we should also be prepared to loathe and call out the fawning (aka practical) Democrat LGBTs that want to tell us to "calm down and listen up."

They have to be stopped. Our problems - as usual - begin with our friends.

There needs to be action, big, loud, public action, right now. This action needs to focus directly and exclusively on jobs and employment, not marriage. It has to be about protecting our ability as Americans to get a job and make a living free from unjust discrimination.

Furthermore, this action has to come with real teeth, not empty threats. We have to be prepared to actually run credible primary candidates against Democrats who don't support our equal treatment under the law. We also have to accept the reality that in many races we'll probably be making it easier for a Republican to win that seat.

In short, this community as a whole has to stand up and say to Congress "Time's up!"

As much as it amazes me to see these words being typed on my keyboard, I think it's time for this community to collectively channel a little George W. Bush: Members of Congress are either with us or against us. There is no middle ground on basic civil rights for LGBT Americans anymore, and we must demand nothing less than (relatively) immediate passage of ENDA as evidence of support for LGBT Americans (read: voters).

If they want to show off a prize to our community during the upcoming election, let's make sure they understand that yes, we're happy about the hate crimes law, but ENDA is the bill upon which our support and our votes in the upcoming election will be predicated.

Re your suggestion, Rebecca, about running candidates against Democrats, I think that is something to think about for the future. Right now, my question is how do we get ENDA back on track.

D Lane Taylor | November 23, 2009 11:28 AM

We need to do something fast. I will help anyway I can.

Um excuse me dear, but people already did that brainstorming and the consensus was that the Democrats will keep stonewalling our issues on all fronts until we inform them that there are consequences to inaction. The move is called "don't ask,don't give" and though modest in scope it was supposed to have the effect of prodding the Dems into action rather than vague promises. Unfortunately, due largely to members of our own community (and a few writers here) the movement has not yet caught their attention as a real threat. Therefore we are still viewed as the weak beggars at the door of power. Until that changes get used to "postponements"

Money is not enough. The stakes are too high. If costing the Democrats actual seats in Congress (or issuing the credible threat of doing so) is what it takes to get ENDA passed into law, then so be it. We've waited long enough. Finesse has gotten us nowhere, so it's time to try a sledgehammer.

What was really frustrating was on the ENDA action day how MANY LGBT people I talked to that gave me grief about making a simple phone call. For them its not a problem. They're employed. Once they're fired once for being gay that'll be a different story... but it'll be too late then.

Don't be lazy, folks. It takes 1 minute to call Congress. Make the call. Then spend an additional 2 telling everyone on facebook to call. Really, 5 minutes of your day tops. Then you can go back to spending hours watching stupid TV or having chats about nothing online. Do something important for five minutes for a change, though. That's all we're asking.

Phil, I agree with you generally that people need to do more, but the ENDA slowdown being discussed here does not appear to be one of insufficient support from constituents. It appears to be insufficient support from legislators. They can talk all they want about being committed to ENDA, but if this were something really important they would have had it done on time.

This article and ALL the above Comments ignore one important fact:

We do not have enough votes to pass any LGBT Bills.

Hope is not a plan.

That is simply not true. It is not a fact, because it it a lie. We have enough people committed to ENDA to pass it. We just don't have enough lawmakers with guts to let it come to a vote. They'll be on record for it, they'd just rather not.

Dr. Weiss has been PHENOMENAL about keeping track of these votes and making them freely available to all in the public ENDA spreadsheet. If you'd take the time to click the link you'd see that we're ALMOST at the threshold to pass it just from the committed 'yes' confirmations, and that if only 3 of the unconfirmed would vote yes out of the forty or so, we'd pass the bill. lobbyists on both sides have said that enough of those undecideds are off record supporting ENDA to pass it. That's all we need to know.

Please be aware that there is a difference between fact an opinion. A FACT is something proven. There is no FACT in your statement, as the numbers show that we have enough Yes votes to pass ENDA if three unconfirmed lawmakers vote our way. Your statement is an opinion. Please don't use the term FACT so loosely, it confuses people. When you say "fact" they may believe that you're actually not coming from a place of no actual factual basis.

We don't have the Votes in the Senate. That is a fact.


I think Jillian has done a wonderful job - that's not the point. Even by her math there are:

52 YES votes
37 NO votes
11 Uncommitted

Getting 8 of the 11 is not possible. I believe that only five of them can even be considered "leaning Yes."

That would be 57 Votes.

It's worse for us with DOMA and DADT Repeals.

*You will notice that Senate whip counts for DADT and DOMA are NOT available on the ActOnPrinciples website.

In fact I have 56 likely yes votes, so we need 4 more. See http://bit.ly/14TDll and look at the column on the far right labeled "Likely Yes Votes." There are also an additional 8 possibles, whose names are highlighted in yellow on the left side of the page. I think we'll get more than 4 of those. So this can happen. But waiting too long will get us in trouble.

Leigh Smythe | November 23, 2009 2:21 PM

There is only one reason for this. It is Barney Frank's bigotry, yet again. He wants to fight for "his people" and his people only. An inclusive ENDA does not sit his fancy. You said he was powerful and he is at the root of all our problems. Domestic Partners and all other gay only bills will be forwarded, but if it includes Trans people he will find way to delay. And despite our drubbing of he and the HRC, the reality is that we have bigotry in the hearts of our allies, no matter their outward statements. Sorry, bt that's the facts M'am.

As a young transman and a musician with little monetary resources, I am very disheartened, not just for my community, but for those who have worked to hard to ensure protections for us. I feel powerless in the world of politics, but I and my contemporaries in the art sector have a huge voice and access to our community.

I'll get blogging, but please - someone with the political know-how - What else can we do?!!!! Maybe nothing, but I figured it's worth asking.

If anyone made it to any of the Trans Day of Remembrance services on Nov 19th and heard the endless list of names of the victims of violence, maybe they will be moved to help. I doubt many senators were able to make it.

Thanks to everyone here, and everyone working to get this right.

Joe Stevens


I appreciate your comment. The reality that many do not want to hear is that we do not have a "political solution." The sooner we admit that, the sooner we can shift our attention (and resources) to other strategies.

The problem is how entrenched we are (as a community)in the political machine. We have spent $2 billion in the last 12 years on "politics." It hasn't produced a single victory for LGBT issues. Even the Hate Crimes Bill had to hold the Defense Spending Bill "hostage."

After the election of Obama and a Democratic majority in the US Congress everyone was hopeful. It was "false hope" or at least exaggerated. Pro-LGBT Votes are not there. Being a Democrat doesn't guarantee support.

Politicians take their stand based on their own "religious belief" or that of their constituents. Because of the influence of religion, their support is not "negotiable." Lobbyists can't trump God.

But, there is some good news. The LGBT Community is waking up and beginning to apply math to tactics and strategies and making more objective assessments of our methods. We are also looking at resources and priorities. Some terrific new ideas are coming out of these efforts. I think 2010 will signal a new beginning for our stalled movement. A united movement based on winning, not just playing politics.

In the meantime, talk to your friends about "equality." And, keep talking until they get it.

"There needs to be action, big, loud, public action, right now. This action needs to focus directly and exclusively on jobs and employment, not marriage. It has to be about protecting our ability as Americans to get a job and make a living free from unjust discrimination."

- Yeah, Rebecca. Dictate to the gays that they need to make you their top priority. It is not enough that all gays and lesbians have sacrificed ENDA for 10 years in order to include "gender identity". No, now they have to sacrifice all other priorities in order to privilege your agenda.

"Gender identity" is a liability. That is the reason it is the focus of attacks in Congress and in state legislatures. Legislators who might be fine with forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation do not want to force employers to hire cross-dressers. If one reads the implementation guidelines for the NYC gender identity law, which was written by trans activists, you can easily see the problem.
GI is defined broadly and ambiguously and covers not only trans-sexuals, but all expressions of gender, however fleeting. As written, a bearded male receptionist at IBM could show up in a suit and tie one day and a fluffy white dress the next and IBM would have no choice but to look the other way as its global clientele gets a first-hand lesson in butch drag.

Whatever the merits of such a law, it is NOT about sexual orientation and it is absurd that gays have to sacrifice their rights on the altar of political correctness.

Whatever the merits of such a law, it is NOT about sexual orientation and it is absurd that gays have to sacrifice their rights on the altar of political correctness.

I also think it's crazy that homophobic straight people should have to sacrifice their right to hire and fire who they want on the altar of political correctness.

Damn libruls!

Interestingly, Donna, gender identity is not the major issue being targeted by the right. It is the idea that "sexual orientation" includes pedophilia, and that religious Christians should not be forced to hire homosexuals. These are the major objections you see on right wing websites. Gender identity is generally an afterthought.

It's worse for us with DOMA and DADT Repeals.
While I don't agree with your feasibility assessment of ENDA, I do agree on this comparative assessment between ENDA and the other bills - and I don't believe that that assessment can legitimately be challenged (maybe on DADT, but certainly not DOMA), which begs the question: Why are they even out there? Why isn't there a 'grand compromise' of 'We'll shut up on marriage for a while if you give us ENDA'?

A different sort of compromise was fine-n-dandy for ENDA two (and four, and six, yadda, yadda, yadda...) years ago, after all.

Donna, you're right that it's not about sexual orientation. It's about wanting to be treated like a human being while I'm transitioning on the job, instead of being booted out as soon as my voice drops. I guess that's pretty terrible, though, judging by your comments, that I would dare try to work and earn money and be a contributing member of society while changing my perceived sex.

Please, please think about what you type. Your comment is deeply hurtful.

Have you seen the Declaration on our freedom? http://demossnews.com/manhattandeclaration/press_kit/manhattan_declaration_signers

We need a declaration of independence from theocRATS. The issues are NOT marriage, military service, employment, protection from hate crimes, gender identity rights, domestic partnerships, burial rights, ENDA, DOMA, DADT, DPBO (WTF).

There is only one issue - and that's unconditional constitutional equality never requiring the approval, acceptance, tolerance, agreement or respect of RepublicRATS or DemocRATS.

We can continue to chip away at getting this right or that right, allowing ourselves to be used by either party to score political points.

Until we join forces with one another and our str8 allies, demanding complete and unconditional constitutional equality, we will wait for another election cycle and another, while we are denied jobs, kicked out of the military, not ALLOWED to marry or adopt children.

Instead of just boycotting the DemocRATS, we could be putting that money to use to replace them with political allies who we run for Congress. All politics are local - how many people posting here and reading this are involved in your county Democrat party - because that's where it all starts? Or we could all just continue complaining, whining, and blaming each other.

"Let's brainstorm to figure out how to get ENDA moving again. If you have action suggestions, please do comment. I'm starting to lose steam."

Here's a plan. We need to gather facts from the parties involved so we move in an effective direction. Let's schedule a meeting with Chairman George Miller and Barney Frank. We need to sit down and discuss what we need to do as a community to get this bill moving again. Currently there are 30 co-sponsors on the committee of 49 reps. Clearly it will be voted out of committee. So something else is at play here and I'd like to get the scoop right out of the horses mouth.

I love the idea of meeting with Chairman Miller and Barney Frank. Wonder if we could make that happen. It would probably be next week, though, because I know Chairman Miller is out of town until next Tuesday.

Good luck with that, Jill. If your experience is anything like mine in trying to get public statements from these people, that meeting will never happen. They'll send Diego to represent their views.

Barney only appears on the big networks and the top gay men's sites. One thing that has become clear to me after years of trying is that he has no interest in speaking to us directly. We are extremely fortunate in that the person who he chose to speak on his behalf to our community (among his myriad of other duties) is supremely competent and a great advocate of trans rights, as well as being a transperson himself.

And yet, ask yourself this question: Have you ever seen Barney Frank send an emissary to speak on his behalf in any case other than when it involves speaking to the trans community directly? Does he avoid any other community media situation? He's been interviewed by Mike Signorile numerous times, as well as the Advocate and many other print publications and some of the more popular community bloggers.

The one and only time I have ever heard Barney Frank interviewed by a transperson (other than when I or another transperson would call into a show like Signorile's to ask him a question) was several years ago when he appeared on GenderTalk.

The GenderTalk crew did a good interview with him about where transgender issues stood in Congress at that time. They were, of course, respectful, but it was to the point of being almost almost reverential. They asked all the right questions, but they didn't challenge him on anything he said.

In more recent appearances Frank has made on the Signorile show, I've heard Signorile do much the same thing, just let him say whatever he wants on the topic at hand without probing or challenging anything he says.

Maybe this is what Barney Frank expects from LGBT media and why he does he does plenty of interviews with media geared toward upper-class gays and lesbian but not with media geared toward the interests of transpeople.

The truth is that I don't think Barney Frank wants to talk to us directly or he would have taken advantage of the opportunity to do so long before now. While I am extremely thankful for Diego being in the position he is, I also suspect that one of his duties is to run interference for Barney with the trans community, to talk with us and answer our questions so he doesn't have to.

I want to stress that I believe that placing Diego in the position he is is something Barney Frank deserves commendation for. He put his money where his mouth is and is modeling transgender inclusion not only by including a transman on his staff, but by choosing one as competent and well-qualified as Diego. In my book, Barney Frank earns major credibility points for that.

At the same time, however, we continue to see more evidence that he wants to keep the trans community at arm's length. I'm really not sure why that is. Does he think that if he came on my radio show or did a print interview with one of us that we'd attack him unfairly? More unfairly than, say, Bill O'Reilly?

Speaking strictly for myself here, there are many who can testify (including Diego, who has appeared on my show) that I do a tough but fair interview. I don't shy away from difficult questions, but I also don't attack my guests. I've always said that guests on my show are just that, guests, and I treat them as such.

I think the same would be true of most transfolks offered the chance to interview or sit down with Barney Frank. Sadly, because of the reasons noted above, I doubt it will ever happen. He's got an aide for that.

ENDA is related to jobs right? Any reason not to attach it to job legislation? Seems like the only way we can get stuff up for vote is to attach it to something. I've read they're planning to attach repeal of DADT to next year's Defense spending authorization bill.

Rev. Donna Tara Lee | November 23, 2009 11:20 PM

I sincerely fear that we are about to be thrown under the bus. We have already gotten more from this administration than we got in the Bush years altogether, more so than in tje Clinton years also. So I can hear them now, " Look at all they got so far. We can't push for anymore"
So now we are faced with a situation where the the dems and their supporters will say, " we need more time. And you know the Repukes will give you nothing so you better stay with us. you'll get more from us after the election. " And I say NOW!!!! We have waited long enough for the same civil rights all other Americans have.
This is why we marched October 11. That is why the EAA ( Equality Across America ) is organizing in congressional districts across the country to fight for our equality now.We are in this for our equality, not to have a fancy dinner with the president. We want results, that's what it's all about.

You said: "That is why the EAA ( Equality Across America ) is organizing in congressional districts across the country to fight for our equality now."

Fighting? How? Marching and demanding?

You cannot lobby or demand "beliefs" away. Our President and our Congress are NOT going to support anything LGBT. They haven't and they won't.

Please think of something else to spend your time and resources on. Equality Across America didn't attract enough interest - amateur "lobbyists" is not an answer.

"At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is setting a new legislative priority: the immediate creation of a jobs bill from scratch in the House, and Senator Reid has said the same for the Senate. Jobs are, of course, very important, but that effort will likely suck all the oxygen from the room for quite a while."

It would look that ENDA could be joined to any Jobs bill just as the "Hate Crime bill" was attached to the military appropriations bill. If the Job bill is a strong runner, neither side can ignore it. After all, what would their constituents think if they didn't want people to have jobs. But then again, the "Wrong Party" doesn't even want everyone to receive good health care. Just musing an option.

Angela Brightfeather | November 24, 2009 1:31 AM

This smells like and end run to me.
Wheer is HRC on this and why aren't thedy sayiung a damn thing about ENDCA? After they threw us under the bus, thedy said that the deal was made so they could stay at Frank's table. so what is happening at that table anyway? Their silence is deafening to me and that means only one thing. they know whats going on and are keeping far to quiet about it. they have dropped of the radar screen if you ask me. Why aren't they getting somehting going, or at least making some noise about this?

What does NGLTF have to say about it also and NCTE? The last I heard from any source connected to the Trans community is that "we are working on it". Just what it is, is anyone's guess right now.

If you want a strategy, you would have known it5 by now if they wanted you to, so the chances of finsdinbg out anything concrete that we can complain or rally around is almost out of the question. You can't just flail around like a banshee and scream about something that you don't know for sure is a strategy that your not sure about.

If I had to guess, I would say that Frnak and Baldwin saw the light when they coupled up hate cxrimes with the defence bill and they may have somehting in mind like that for ENDA. that would be the good news. The bad news would be that they aren't planning anything.

The bottom line is that someone whas read the writing on the wall and had some kind of political epiphany, most likely that they have nothing to lose by holding of on ENDA and everything to gain by catering to the SSM issue because it garners many more votes for them in the long run. As long as GLB people continue to put SSM before jobs, then people like Frank are gong to follow the noise.

What can we do? The first thing we can do is to stop talking about rumors and press people to tell it like it really is. This is one time that NCTE, HRC, NGLTF and United ENDA need to get their heads together and find out what the new timetable is and let people know for sure, instead of guessing. The silence coming from all of them will only cause many more problems in the long run and if they don't know anything, then what the heck are they doing saying that they represent us in the first place? Applying pressure to Frank and company won't do a darn thing for us except tick him of more than he probably already is. We need to start pressing the people who we contribute to in DC to come up with some answers now. If they don't respond to the pressure to find out what is happening about ENDA and why it is being delayed, then at least we can stop kidding ourselves about our being affective and they being representative. The fact remains that they should know exactly what is happening.

I challenge all of those groups mentioned to contribute what they know now. that would be a good start.

None of the Gay Rights Industry is saying anything because there is nothing they can do. Plus, they're still trying to take credit and raise money for the Hate Crimes Bill - which didn't pass Congress - it was used to hold the Defense Spending Bill "hostage." That action will be referred to as "homosexual terrorism" by Republicans next Fall.

Diego wrote:

Jill, my nearly decade-long friend. (and for other people who might read this, I am NOT the person who talked to Jill about a deep end. I would find that comment disrespectful, and I like my friend Jill. She'd confirm that I didn't say that to her, that I only said that there's no delay on ENDA in the House.)

First, I'm taking a break from quiet reflection this afternoon usually dedicated to pray for Veterans including my Dad, who I lost 9 years ago on this very day, Nov. 11. I'm breaking to write to you and respond to your post to share what I know is true.

Shortest response: Calm down; listen up.

Shorter response: Keep working; don't worry. ENDA is not being displaced; FEDP is strategically near-located to it and has been since it was completed.

Short response: Maybe you didn't have months-old information, but I promise that leading DC advocate organizations with lobbyists and office-visitors did. Hence, the advice you're getting -- because you're surprised doesn't make it a surprise.

Little longer: Stay vigilant on your 'Legis of the Day' project, but don't mistake what might be new to your ears as 'new.' We've been touting and co-discussing Congresswoman Baldwin's important FEDP bill with ENDA since it was laid out for co-sponsors. And Federal Employees are not just in DC. They are across the US and probably in its territories.

Even more: Please keep telling people to focus on their state's US Senators, and on their district's US Rep. in the House, but mostly, as we working on the bill have said, the Senate.

Whoever the 'insider' is (and I am not curious about who it is), they are not inside the conversations on the bills if they're arming you with information that left out the critical role we've held for the FEDP bill (as soon as it was completed) alongside ENDA and the timing sequence and bill relationships. They're just not in the room or on the phone line, clearly.

Even my Twitter and Facebook entries will back up mentioning both. I think that you can check them. It's no surprise, and Googling for stories with Congressman Frank talking about bill sequence and topics will bear that out, too.

My Tweets and FB updates followed exactly what Reps. Baldwin and Frank planned, along with Rep. Polis as Co-Chairs of the LGBT Equality Caucus. Our staff briefings back that up. It's no surprise that work to secure votes for those two LGBT civil rights bills is unified. At least it's no surprise to we who are working these bills, inside of Congress and in the lead organizations at our side, also working to secure support for our rights.

I don't work in the Senate, but we have had joint ENDA Member and staff AND Member/Staff/Advocate meetings with House and Senate together. I've never been told to plan for or expect a Senate vote in Jan or Feb. It's always been expected to be later next year.

Congressman Frank addressed the National Gay & Lesbian (GLBT) Chamber of Commerce's LGBT Business Leaders & Allies Reception on Thurs. Nov. 5 and the Maryland GLBT Chamber of Commerce's inaugural breakfast on Tues. Nov. 10 (yesterday) and repeated the same sequencing that he has in news reports of past months. I said the same thing on Nov. 5 to the NGLCC's Executive Committee when I briefed them on the sequencing of bills. It's what my colleagues and our bosses have said to anyone who asks us the question.

Congressman Frank told a reporter that he expects a vote in the House on ENDA no later than Feb., and it means just that -- no later than. As soon as healthcare reform was deemed to be consolidated into a lump bill per chamber, he said then that it would come first. It did. He said that ENDA and FEDP would be next. They are.

Even with healthcare reform on the front burner (and I am the staffer for both healthcare and ENDA), we held a great House hearing followed by a great Senate hearing. Both were successful, productive and done.

The House hearing had to wait for that incredible study by The WIlliams Institute to be completed. The Senate hearing had to follow the one in the House. The Williams Institute data documented discrimination and was used in oral and written testimony in both the House and Senate hearings. It added strength.

Next is the House markup for H.R. 3017 (ENDA). It's coming soon, as promised. Since healthcare surfaced, our leading Members have said it would occur in late November or early December. We're not at either of those calendar markers yet. It's coming soon, as of this very moment.
Diego | November 11, 2009 3:30 PM


We DO NOT need "insider" comments or Barney Franks's speeches to understand that we do not have enough votes/support in the 111th Congress.

Wishing and hoping is not a Plan.

It would be better to simply tell the truth and then deal with it.