Thursday, April 25, 2013

Let’s See If We Get Screwed Again

Today the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is being introduced in both chambers of Congress. The question is will we get screwed again and gender identity and expression get dropped from the bill.

In 2007 the bill contained both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression when it was originally introduced. At the lobby day training down in Washington DC, the HRC said that they were 100% behind the gender inclusive bill and only the gender inclusive bill. In September HRC President Joe Solmonese at the Southern Comfort Conference before over 800 trans*people and their allies he repeated that the HRC is “solidly behind” only the gender inclusive ENDA bill only. A couple of week later they said  that they will be neutral on the gender non-inclusive bill. Then a few weeks later the HRC said that they would support the non-inclusive bill but that the HRC would not penalize any Congress person who votes against the non-inclusive bill. Then only two month after Joe Solmonese said at the Southern Comfort Conference of their unconditional support of the gender inclusive bull they did a 180o turn and said that they will only support the non-inclusive bill and that they will penalize any Congress person who voted against the bill because it didn’t contain the inclusive language. Seven Representatives lost their 100% rating with the HRC because they supported only the inclusive bill.

So here were are in 2013 and the inclusive bills will once again be introduced, will we be thrown under the bus again? It doesn’t look good for any form of ENDA the Republicans have said that they are against the bill and the Democrats do not have enough votes to defeat a filibuster in the Senate and the Republicans control the House.

It looks like all the Connecticut Congress members are in support of the gender inclusive bill but as Sen. Murphy said on Google Hangout this week as reported in the Connecticut Employment Law Blog by Daniel Schwartz,
At about the 17:15 mark of the talk, he provided an in-depth discussion about what the bill is and its prospects.

“My hope is that we see an absolute sea change in the rights of gays and lesbians in the next month or so” after the Supreme Court’s ruling next month on gay marriage, Murphy said.  But “save for that action by the Supreme Court, we should pass ENDA.”

As for the prospects itself? ”Not too good” given that “largely social conservative Republicans control the House of Representatives,” said Murphy.

But even in the Senate, it’s prospects were less than clear.  As Murphy observed: “I bet you we could get 50 votes in the Senate” but he didn’t think there were 60 votes which is now the new magic number to get bills passed to break a potential filibuster.
One thing I found interesting is that Sen. Murphy only talked about sexual orientation and didn’t mention anything about gender identity and expression.

If they hold another lobby day down in Washington, I was thinking about attending this year. It will be good to show our support for the bill, just to remind our legislators that the bill also includes gender identity and expression.

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