Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Now That Health Reform Is Complete, We'll Get To ENDA In A Month Or Two

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | March 22, 2010 3:30 PM | comments

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

UPDATE: Rep. Frank says ENDA's going as soon as Congress gets back from recess.

Word out of DC this morning is that now that health care reform is on its way, we may or may not be having a vote on ENDA any time soon.


Easter break starts the end of this week. They could schedule a markup this week for when they get back, but Chairman George Miller is busy with education legislation.

So they'll schedule when they get back, which they usually do on a Wednesday. If they get around to it that first week back, which is by no means guaranteed because there's lots of other things doing, they might possibly schedule it for April 21st or 28th. Then, after the markup, it would need to be noticed before any floor vote, so it might be scheduled for a vote sometime in May.

But that's just a big maybe. Then again, it might be a different scenario.

Maybe they'll tackle it in June. But they're sure not telling us any timing details. What's the big rush, gay people?

Now, I'm all in favor of being reasonable. I understand that DC is still reeling from the health care reform efforts, and I didn't think that they were going to rush into a markup on ENDA today.

But seriously, what is the deal here? We were promised a vote in March. I'd be okay with April. But some communication would be nice?

When I handle a major event at my workplace, people are all ready to cut me some slack. I cut them some slack, too. But I don't get to take the month off, nor do they.

Okay, it's a scheduled vacation for Easter - I get that. No problem. Enjoy.

But waiting for ENDA until May? June?

I know when I'm being played, and the little bullshine meter in my head is going off.

Someone needs to hold someone's feet to the fire.

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We're not going to hold Chairman Millers feet to the fire are we? Maybe lock a few kids in his office? Upset him?

We already burned Pelosi's feet.

Demonstrations of anger and frustration (and we all have them) don't actually help our struggle.

The Healthcare debacle is almost over. Within a few weeks Pelosi should be able to make a comment on scheduling ENDA. YOU can ask Tammy Baldwin or Jared Polis to do that for us. No stunts required. They'll help.

Thank-you for your relentless commitment to the LGBT community.

So what can we do between now and whenever?

Go in to hibernation...
wake me if anything happens...

Figure out how to replace US Senators or change the minds of their constituents. Those are the two options. We've never changed the mind of a US Senator. Just ask HRC.

We can also spend time trying to understand what tactics and methods are effective. Every industry, business, sports team, theater production, music producer, and everything else - routinely hold their methods accountable. Even most individuals do the the same. We should all be seeking to constantly improve our abilities and effectiveness. We must treat our important effort to obtain full equality with the same amount of care, commitment and honest analysis.

This is shaping up to be a very difficult year for the LGBT Community. We need to embrace accountability for every idea, tactic, strategy and organization and re-focus our energy and resources on what we know works.

"Try everything" isn't good enough. Let's figure out what works.

Oh, there'll be a lot of senators replaced all right after November. Even more in the house.

Just... not in a good way. It's now or wait for 14 years.

You keep perpetuating this lie that we've "never changed the mind of a US Senator," even though I've given you ample evidence of times when we have. Susan Collins changed her mind on DADT repeal. Chuck Schumer changed his mind on same-sex marriage. You keep repeating this lie like the Republicans do, thinking that if you say it often enough it will become the truth.

You are entitled to your own opinions; you are NOT entitled to your own facts.

My feeling is that we have to position ourselves to get a markup the first week back from the break. That's the week of April 12. I'm thinking of a petition drive. Andrew, you can get on board with a nice civil petition drive, can't you? But we'd have to get tens of thousands of signatures. A petition with like 500 signatures on it would be just pathetic. Could we get 10,000 signatures in two weeks? What do you think?

Will a Petition Drive change some votes in the Senate? The Senators who continue to oppose us already know we have some support - they don't care.

If, on the other hand we could demonstrate that their constituents had changed their minds (with polling data), we'd own them. But, we are not doing that.

I wish lobbying and attention getting direct actions and even creating lists of supportive people would work, but we have 40 years of evidence that they do not.

I appreciate your amazing persistence and your incredible commitment to ENDA. I also agree it's very important. It may take months or years to achieve its passage, but as a movement or as a community we don't have a strategy to accomplish it.

At some point we need to embrace accountability and create a winning strategy/plan.

I hope that happens soon. This year is looking progressively worse (pun intended).

now this might just be an idea that's a bit too far-fetched to really work, but let me give it a shot.

what worked really well for tea party activists was theater, particularly the images of protesters dressed as colonials, which makes for a great tv-friendly visual.

so how could enda-friendly activists quickly create a theater event, ideally one that's fairly quick to put together and doesn't require a large turnout?

how about this: what if activists conducted "information-ins" where highly-decorated information booths suddenly and very temporarily appear in a heavily-trafficked tourist areas around the country (nyc, washington dc, the powell street cable car turnaround, wherever...), staffed by "geek squad" looking workers ("information squad"?), who are providing tourist information, campaign literature, and a visual example of how lbgtq people, just like anyone else, work in the workplace, and deserve to be protected against discrimination, just like anyone else?

Why don't you try something like this:
Collect petitions of register voter names from states with competitive Senate races this November. Such as Russ Feingold WI, Arlen Specter PA, Michael Bennet CO. Take the names and tell the senator, "These are the names of hundreds-thousands of WI or PA or CO, volunteers, supporters, contributories, voters from your state. They're all ready to support and help you in this November reelection.

All they are asking is you help bring a Senate vote on ENDA, and vote for ENDA. They want to support you senator, they’re ready to be there. Give them the chance to help you out senator.
That's all we're asking. We'll be there if you are."

One race we need to support is the Senate race in PA. Congressman Joe Sestak is running against Arlen Specter. I met Sestak because he is a very strong supporter of veterans and supports transgender veterans getting better treatment from the VA. He supports LGBT issues, specifically the repeal of DADT and supports ENDA. I don't know of his stance on the repeal of DOMA or same-sex marriage. This former Admiral really understands equality.

I think right now, until we at least have some sort of actual date, we must operate on the presumption that anything we hear from Congressional Democrats regarding ENDA coming up for a vote is automatically suspect. That's not a presumption of dishonesty, but it is most certainly a presumption based on past history that promises made by Congressional Democrats are subject to change and revision at a moment's notice when they become inconvenient.

Not saying don't be optimistic, but until we have something more than these vague "soon" promises, I wouldn't count on anything.

Remember, we've been down this road before with these people. Believe it when you see it and not one second before.

We could get eve more than 10,000 signatures if the state orgs will use their colletive e-mail lists. It would be particularly powerful if the orgs in states with wavering support from their reps made a big push.

Norm D Plume | March 22, 2010 6:48 PM

BARF. Health care reform hasn't even started. What we got was a HUGE FUCKING CORPORATE WELFARE PROGRAM. But Democratic voters don't seem to care much about facts or reality. As long as a Democrat supports it, it must be good. Obama could take a shit on a baby's face on national television, and you fucking Democratic Party Nazis would cheer him on.

I realy dont see to much after the "Health Care" bill gets signed happening.The Primary season is almost upon us and soon the members of Congress will be fightng for there political lives one damned if you do damned if you dont vote is all they can afford this year.Look to the next Congress or perhaps a lame duck session after the primary to see any thing on EDNA or for that matter DADT.Any thing before the primaries are done forget it aint happening.

Politics is a contact sport with no rules.

Turns out I'll have the luxury this November of voting to replace a Senator that, near as I can tell, has never actually said she supports same-sex marriage with one who has written articles in favor of same-sex marriage.

I'm going to p**s off about 90% of my friends when I tell them I'm going to do this, though.

Current projections for the 2010 Elections appear to suggest that the Senate will end up 50 Republicans, and 48 Democrats + 2 Independents.


The House looks similar.

What are LGBT Organizations doing about that probability? There are several States where some smart participation by our community could be helpful, like Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Floria, Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.

Our failure to do something about these races NOW, may be much worse than our current struggle.

Sooner or later, we have to have an effect on the US Senate. We better get started.

How about this suggestion? We take up positions around Washington DC and prevent any shipments of shoes from entering the City. With all the foot dragging they do there particularly on ENDA and other LGBT Rights Legislation, many in Congress must need to replace their shoes several times per day. Surely their shoe budget must be the a great part of the reason for the huge deficit in the Federal budget. If replacement shoes were not easily available it might give them pause from their foot dragging long enough to accidentally get something productive done.


I say let them go shoe-less!

( there may have been medications consumed prior to and during the writing of this posting )

Declaring war on our allies, like Nancy Pelosi


becoming LGBTeaBaggers are NOT solutions.

Focusing on anti-gay US Senators is necessary.

Longterm, we must figure out how to change minds and get fellow Americans to stand with us. We have to increase our ranks, not scare people away with anger-inspired publicity stunts.

Communication, not demonstration.

Why can't there be a place for both, Andrew? Let's be honest, there are two different components at play here. One is the personal, changing hearts and minds one at a time. The other is cultural impact and education, and that's done through the media. Both are needed in order to ensure progress, and each depends on the other to enhance their potency.

Let's not also forget that the vast majority of LGBT Americans aren't aware of nor do they really care about LGBT issues. If we want to have any sort of political potency as a minority interest at the federal level we have to get our message out there to the masses reliably, and that means big, noticeable, and in the media.

It would be nice if we could do it like in those MTV ads, go door-to-door to talk to people about LGBT rights, but we know that's not realistic. Glenn Beck reaches more people with one show than we would in a year going the personal route.

We now have the tools to quite literally recreate how political activism and demonstrations are done, and I think we should do exactly that. There's still plenty of work to be done (I'd have liked to see the other actions taking place besides Dan Choi get more coverage than they did), but I think this was an excellent effort that holds much promise for the future.

Remember Andrew, even after the Civil Rights Act was passed, it wasn't until we saw racial and ethnic minorities being treated better in the media that we saw a corresponding improvement in American cultural norms. There's no reason to expect that the same won't be true here.

to add to this thought, consider how successful the yes men have been in producing political demonstration theater and getting it into the mass media market effectively.

SarasNavel | March 24, 2010 1:45 AM

Congress has not been voting along Democratic or Republican lines, they've been voting along Christian verses "liberal" lines, and that is actually their weak spot.

We need to expose the hypocrisy of the religious right and do it in a big way guaranteed to get attention, but *without* allowing it to turn into an us-vs-them, batten-down-the-hatches head butting contest that the religious leaders dream of at night. To them an all-out battle of hatred is gold, quite literally. We need to deprive them of that, yet call their bluff in so many ways.

We need to promote LGBT as being people in relationships based on LOVE. And tie it in with specific messages from the teachings of Their Lord. And subtly get the message across that the good people have been led astray. That would be a public campaign that if crafted carefully enough would crash their messages of hatred.

They've built an empire on our backs during the last decade or so. It's time we stood tall and showed the constituents, the congregations and the politicians that *we* are the one political group that is defined by Love, not Hate. Think about the message we'd be sending and the good it would do our community...

Part of that involves pro-equality Christians speaking out against the bigots, not politely or indirectly, but LOUDLY and CLEARLY. The only reason the myth of "god versus the gays" continues is because sensible Christians keep quiet. That is only reason the media gets away with portraying this as a battle between religious freedom and gay rights.