Bil Browning

ENDA: Then & Now

Filed By Bil Browning | July 02, 2013 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: ENDA, Freedom to Work, nondiscrimination legislation, Senate hearing

There are two interesting tidbits about ENDA to share today.

gay_agenda.jpgIt looks like the Senate will actually hold a committee hearing on ENDA on July 10.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee has scheduled the markup for the LGBT job anti-bias legislation two weeks to the day that the Supreme Court ruled against the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8.

Scheduling the vote is first step for Senate HELP Committee Chair Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) in fulfilling the promise he announced this year to move ENDA out of the committee this year.

All 12 Senate Democrats on the panel are co-sponsors of the legislation -- in addition to Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) -- so ENDA should have no trouble obtaining approval from the committee.

Following up on that bit of news, Michelangelo Signorile quotes former Bilerico editor Michael Crawford talking his ideas on how to get ENDA actually passed: rebrand it. I couldn't agree with him more. Ditching the name ENDA and expanding the scope of the legislation would give LGBT federal nondiscrimination legislation some nice forward momentum.

"When we talk about it as discrimination, it's about bad things that are happening vs. reframing in a more aspirational way, framing it as freedom to work," he explained. "Everyone wants to be able to work and take care of their families. Framing it as something the general public can understand and connect to."
"When you look at marriage, you see a strategic shift in messaging," he explained. "We stopped talking about it as 'rights.' When straight people want to get married, it's about love and commitment. How can we make that transition around ENDA? I think a much more interesting way to look at it is if we reconceived how we push for nondiscrimination at the federal level. A broader bill that was bigger, bolder, had the chance to captivate the public's imagination. Rebranding, talking about it in ways that resonate with the general pubic and puts pressure on elected officials."

Signorile suggests rebranding ENDA into the Freedom to Work Act. But what would we call a larger omnibus nondiscrimination bill?

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