Barney Frank | ENDA | Nancy Pelosi | News | Tammy Baldwin

House Passes Employment Non-Discrimination Act 235-184

House passes ENDA 235-184. 35 Republicans joined the Democrats.

Above, Barney Frank's remarks on ENDA — on the left, his comments at the beginning of debate, at right his tearful comments at the end, after a motion was made to send the bill back to committee, in order to kill it. The motion to recommit was made on the basis of marriage: "Motion to recommit "to modify, limit, restrict, or in any way overturn any State or Federal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, including the use of this Act as a legal predicate in litigation on the issue of marriage."

The motion to recommit failed 222-198.

Tammy Baldwin withdrew her amendment adding transgender protections at the end of debate. Baldwin released a statement following the vote.

Here are a few clips of the debate this afternoon:

Below, Representative John Lewis speaks in favor of the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement in support of the bill.

Below, Representative Barbara Lee speaks in support of the Baldwin amendment that would add protections for transgender people. Representative Kathy Castor speaks in favor of the bill.

Jeremy at Good As You has a whole line-up of audio recordings of the debate that went on this afternoon.

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Comments

  1. Not a veto proof majority.

    /sigh

    Posted by: beergoggles | Nov 7, 2007 6:45:11 PM


  2. I know Log Cabin gets a lot of criticism. But had those 35 Republicans voted "no" the bill would have failed. I'm glad they are in Washington convincing whatever Republicans are willing to listen to support basic issues of fairness and equality.

    Posted by: Timothy | Nov 7, 2007 7:07:56 PM


  3. Fight the fight. Soon we win. The next generation will spit on bush and the republican haters in less than 10 years despite what happens to EDNA today. There is hope.

    Posted by: VI Agara | Nov 7, 2007 7:23:52 PM


  4. A Pyrrhic victory indeed.

    Posted by: Lia | Nov 7, 2007 7:23:58 PM


  5. John Lewis is a true statesman.
    A true leader. I am deeply impressed. Thank you John.

    Posted by: Frank Bruschetta | Nov 7, 2007 7:27:05 PM


  6. I know, love me some John Lewis! Can't wait to be back in his district!

    Posted by: Lia | Nov 7, 2007 7:33:47 PM


  7. Apparently, many of you are NOT as familiar with John Lewis as I, he is my congressman. He is not a "true statesman", but rather an oportunist. I am sure that no one here heard his remarks while speaking at a church in College Park, GA some years back. He spoke about "sodomites" and the need to repent. He spoke of "sinners", etc. Apparently he has jumped on the bandwaggon!

    Posted by: RB | Nov 7, 2007 7:55:06 PM


  8. Well, I agree with you there, but actions speak louder than words -- and as long as he is using his congressional votes to further our cause, I don't know if it's fair to blame him for what he once said... but I know what you mean.

    Posted by: lia | Nov 7, 2007 8:18:30 PM


  9. LIA, why do you say it's a Pyrrhic victory? A victory "at devastating cost to the victor" -- I'm not sure what cost your thinking of. Care to elaborate? I'm curious.

    Posted by: tjc | Nov 7, 2007 8:41:10 PM


  10. GREAT point, bamjaya! Thanks for that...

    Can I, as the lone gay conservative on this blog commentary, point out that 35 of those awful, horrible, evil, nasty Republicans voted for this bill. May that be the end of gross generalizations against those who don't follow the liberal gay party line.

    Yeah, right. Donkeys will fly soon, too.

    Anyway, I think every one of us (no matter our party affiliation) owe a debt of gratitude to the following Representatives: Biggert, Bono, Campbell (CA), Castle, Davis (Tom), Dent, Diaz-Balart (both sisters), Dreier, English (PA), Flake, Fossella, Frelingshuysen, Gerlach, Gilchrest, Hobson, Kirk, Knollenberg, Kuhl (NY), LoBiondo, McCotter, McCrery, McHugh, Miller (MI), Pratts, Pryce, Porter (OH), Ramstad, Reichert, Ros-Lehtinen, Ryan (WI), Saxton, Shays, Tiberi, and Walden (OR).

    Posted by: Kamasutra Jones | Nov 7, 2007 8:43:17 PM


  11. We owe our main debt to Barney Frank, despite the fact that he couldn't wave a magic wand and immediately end discimination and misunderstanding about trangendered people. He is a genius, and has been working tirelessly for a bill that will inevitably be derailed by Bush the Bastard.

    He's clearly on the brink of exhaustion, but he still cares enough to fight. We should all follow his lead.

    Posted by: Paul | Nov 7, 2007 8:53:38 PM


  12. ******
    We owe our main debt to Barney Frank
    ******

    I'll drink to that.

    Actually I'll drink to anything, so that's not saying much.

    Posted by: beergoggles | Nov 7, 2007 8:57:47 PM


  13. "as the lone gay conservative on this blog commentary", Kamasutra Jones, it appears that you have missed the biggest elephant in the room! I have been posting for some time now as a gay repub and missed your support over the last year.

    However, I have stated many times that all of us, EVERY LGBT PERSON IN AMERICA HAS TO VOTE, regardless of party! We MUST get involved and we must vote. I know that we are amongst the minority here, but you are not alone.

    Posted by: RB | Nov 7, 2007 9:22:29 PM


  14. It's interesting to see that 35 Republicans voted for it. Included in that list are more liberal Republicans like Mary Bono and Dave Reichert (in an increasingly liberal district where he almost lost his seat last year to an inexperienced Democratic challenger). The most interesting entry on that list is probably David Dreier, everybody's favorite Congressional closet case.

    It's also disappointing to see that 25 Democrats voted against it, including conservative freshman Heath Schuler who in many ways is a populist Republican in Democratic clothes.

    Posted by: Jeff | Nov 8, 2007 1:17:35 AM


  15. TJC: My comments reflect the division in the political gay community. Sure, we got this thing passed, but at what cost? I stood in a room in September and listened as Solmonese promised that HRC would not support a bill leaving behind the transgender folk. A lot of people are angry about that lie, reiterated by HRC in early October. Given that this vote can only be symbolic for the moment (thanks to a certain promise of a veto), it's worth assessing, independent of which side of this issue one is on, how badly the credibility of HRC and the movement as a whole has been fractured by a vote that, for at least until a Democrat is President, will not impact anyone's right to work. Fallout is all but assured.

    Posted by: Lia | Nov 8, 2007 1:46:05 AM


  16. (/sarcasm begin)
    Fuck you very much Trans people, you have only fought and died for all of us. Obviously that isn't enough for those with power to give a shit about you.

    Trans people, who needs em'.

    (/sarcasm end)

    I'd have rather gone without the ENDA than without our trans brethren included. It's really unfair and selfish the way the law currently is.

    Posted by: Brandon h | Nov 8, 2007 2:00:23 AM


  17. yes who does need those of us who are Trans I guess not the folks whom when I relized I was trans claimed to be my friend.So now its back in the shadows after all the GLB doesnt seem to care they have there rights now and I wish you well with them.

    Cathy formaly once upon a time male.

    Posted by: Cathy | Nov 8, 2007 2:27:11 AM


  18. Well, those in power do not relinquish power willingly. It's always a fight. I'm not going to defend the exclusion of the trans community, in fact, it just proves how much more work has to be done.

    But, I will say that all of us, myself included, certainly do not help matters much by being such peaceful sheep about things.

    The bus strike in Alabama really started a whole lot of changes in America for the 60s civil rights movement, and we need to do the same.

    Stop catering to those who would deny us equal rights. Stop doing their hair, decorating their houses, and helping plan their weddings or whatever industry you are in. A national gay strike. A pink out. Heh. Now THAT would be an interesting day.

    An impractical one for sure.. (i'm a realist too) but damn.. it would make the news..

    wonder if Anderson Cooper would show up for work that day.. heh

    Posted by: Darren | Nov 8, 2007 8:34:15 AM


  19. We lost the battle for the real ENDA. Whether or not Bush keeps his veto promise and whatever the outcome of the wheeling and dealing by the clowns in Congress, this much is clear; we desperately need civil rights protections with real teeth to defend ourselves from bigots on the job, in housing, healthcare and marriage rights.

    According to Lambda Legal if these protections don’t include gender identity they won’t have the legal weight to win in the courts and commissions. Those bodies are overwhelmingly biased on the side of employers, businesses and bigots. Going up against them without the necessary tools is a wasted effort. Then Democrat version of ENDA won't fly in the courts or the commissions. It's toothless. It’s an empty, cruel hoax.

    And it gets worse. The Democrats refused to accept an amendment by Baldwin to restore the stripped out provisions of the real ENDA and she withdrew it. But the Democrats did accept and vote for Republican amendments that recodified the bigotry of the original DOMA: “… nothing in this Act may be construed to modify, limit, restrict, or in any way overturn any State or Federal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, including the use of this Act as a legal predicate in litigation on the issue of marriage."

    The vote was as lopsided and bipartisan as the original DOMA vote in ’96: the key difference is that the Democrats control House this time. Barney Frank, true to form voted with the majority to add the DOMA clause to ENDA. So did Baldwin. It passed passed by a vote of 402 for and 25 against.

    Fifty odd years after the passage of the various Civil Rights Acts that ‘outlawed’ racist discrimination, bigotry and bias still produce widespread poverty, housing and job discrimination and why lethal racist travesties like Katrina are the norm, not the exception.

    When the Democrats made their closed door decision to strip ENDA and substitute their bigot/boss friendly version their only concern was their grubby quest for money from bosses, bigots and lobbyists. We were not part of the equation and they threw all of us, not just transsexuals under the bus. No one will ever forget that, in spite of the spin doctors, apologists and quislings. Nor will we forget that they traded us, once again, as they did with DOMA and DADT, for money and to pander to bigots.

    WITH DEMOCRATS LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS REPUBLICANS?

    What was true when the first American Revolution birthed our nation is true today; listen to what Sam Adams had to say on the subject of politicians who’d sell out for a few dollars or a few votes:

    ”IF ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace.

    We seek not your counsel, nor your arms.

    Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” Samuel Adams, Boston, 1777

    In 1820, discussing the future of the Union and slavery, Thomas Jefferson said “"… this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror."

    The treachery of the Democrats is our fire bell.

    It’s a clear warning, we have no choice but to move on and build a political voice independent of the Republicans and Democrats. It’s time to defiantly step out of the last closet, dependence on our enemies in the Democratic and Republican parties.

    Our battle for equality is compulsory. Once we stop spinning our wheels in the cage the Democrats and Republicans have set aside for us and create our own political identity, cultivate friends and allies and begin to fight in our own name then we’ll have every prospect of winning. We can do that in the union led US Labor Party.

    If we lose who knows what kind of final solution Pat Robertson and Rupert Murdoch will impose.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue, RainbowRED | Nov 8, 2007 8:39:33 AM


  20. The hysterics I read here in these comments are astounding.

    I understand how disappointed the TG community must be over their exclusion from the ENDA. I, too, am disappointed that our Congress (not just the two parties, but the institution that is supposedly dedicated to representing the people) would have any problems whatsoever in passing legislation that protected citizens from discrimination based upon who they are.

    However, the passage of this legislation in the House cannot be seen as anything other than a victory in the long fight for equality for gays and lesbians - as well as for the TG community. At long last our issues are being discussed in Congress. Legislators are having to deal with issues important to us. The gay-inclusive ENDA is progress, but it is not the end game. There is still more work to be done.

    So I call upon my friends in the TG community to not lose hope and to not allow this temporary setback to derail their efforts for equality nor to turn their backs on the gay and lesbian community. Rep. Frank and others have committed to continuing the fight, and you should expect that the majority of the gay and lesbian community will continue to support your inclusion in the ENDA.

    Nothing changes overnight. We are only a generation or so away from Stonewall. Look at what has been accomplished in that time. Gays and lesbians are no longer hidden in the closet, and so are the transgendered. Our issues and our existence is talked about in all corners. We are fixtures in Western culture, and that place has been hard-won.

    We must all remain steadfast in the fight for the equality of all people and for the right to be who and what we are without fear of discrimination or retribution by others. The fight goes on.

    Posted by: Jonathon | Nov 8, 2007 9:20:43 AM


  21. "I'd have rather gone without the ENDA than without our trans brethren included. It's really unfair and selfish the way the law currently is."

    Brandon H, in a perfect world you'd be right. But I think that some progress is better than no progress at all. If we reject legislation until each and every detail of our agenda is met we will never get anything that we want.

    American history is clear on this matter. Social change happens in stages, not in one big swoop. It is maddening, I know, but it is just how it is for us.

    Celebrate the accomplishments we have made yet never lose sight of the goals we have. It takes time, and I am as impatient as anyone in wanting full equality NOW, but I am not willing to throw away protections for gays and lesbians - something that we've fought for for years and years - because the final legislation isn't totally to my liking.

    In politics one must make compromises. The greater good is served by supporting this bill, and with more time and more effort we will win inclusion of the transgendered in the future.

    Posted by: Jonathon | Nov 8, 2007 9:30:17 AM


  22. First, this victory means nothing until it's signed into law which it won't be.

    Second, John Lewis is no statesman. I'm from GA and now live in his district. He is a gays friend at pride as he has been seen there but as soon as he stands in front of a pulpit somewhere he is a Black Phelps. I have more respect for someone who consistantly hates us than him.

    Third, Congrats to those Republicans and Democrats who voted yes on this bill. But shame on those (I think it was 8) who didn't vote on this bill at all.

    Posted by: Matt | Nov 8, 2007 9:31:07 AM


  23. "Can I, as the lone gay conservative on this blog commentary, point out that 35 of those awful, horrible, evil, nasty Republicans voted for this bill. May that be the end of gross generalizations against those who don't follow the liberal gay party line."

    Oh, Kamasutra Jones. What a paradox you are. Republicans and "conservatives" have shown themselves, time and time again, to be nothing other than "awful, horrible, evil [and] nasty." And may I add "bigoted" to that list? Have the past 15 years of GOP dominance taught you nothing? Which party has introduced legislation to ban gay marriage? Which party is standing in the way of repealing DADT? Which party is dead set on passing a constitutional amendment to make you and me de jure second class citizens?

    You can criticize the "liberal gay party line" all that you like. But it is exacly those people, those liberals and Democrats, who have fought for you and have paved the way for equality for gays, lesbians and the transgendered.

    You have a right to be a "conservative". You have a right to be a Republican if you so choose. But don't come here and criticize the only people who have ever done a damn thing to make your life better and to make it harder for society to put you down.

    If you seriously think for one minute that a Republican is going to stand up for you then you will indeed be waiting for a very, very long time.

    And let me remind you: only 35 Republicans crossed the line to vote with the Democrats. That is 35 out of about 229. That is only 15% of the Republican representatives in the House. THAT is how much support your party has for you. If THAT doesn't tell you who your friends are in Congress, I don't know what will.

    Posted by: Jonathon | Nov 8, 2007 9:42:09 AM


  24. I just don't get being a "gay republican". How you can support a party that wants to make us second class citizens? Why not just be "independent" instead of aligning yourself with people who think we should stay in the closet and never be able to marry the people we love.

    Are you so desperate for approval that you have to sleep with th enemy?

    Posted by: Bobby | Nov 8, 2007 10:04:23 AM


  25. I guess I have a few points. One, as for the comments about John Lewis being a homophobe, I've heard John Lewis speak out about gay rights for years. Two, Bill, given the fact that Jefferson owned slaves and fathered a child with one of those he enslaved, he may not be the best person to quote on issues regarding slavery. Three, again Bill, I understand your concern, but I think the hyperbole is a bit much. You acknowledge that having civil rights laws hasn't prevented racism. You're right. But, having those laws does provide redress and does make employers think a bit more carefully. At a minimum, it helps ensure that those being mistreated may at least get some cash on the way out. The question for me is, are we better with a partial ENDA or no ENDA? And when most Gays & Lesbians have no anti-discrimination protections at all, I think I pick a watered down ENDA. As someone that actually had to hire lawyers to prove workplace discrimination AND WON, I must tell you that having these laws is important! I am also fortunate that I have worked in jurisdictions that have had gay anti-discrimination laws. I also live in a state with anti-gay discrimination laws. I want as many people as possible to have the advantage of those protections and for that to happen a bill has to be passed. This isn't about wanting to throw transgendered people under the bus. This is about making sure that as many other folks as possible have the means to fight as I fought. Lastly, while I respect Lambda Legal, the actual bill passed by the House bars discrimination on the basis of "actual or perceived sexual orientation." Perceived sexual orientation, to my mind, seems like it would protect an "effeminate" gay man or a "masculine" lesbian from workplace discrimination. Ultimately, the issue is one for courts to decide. There's no way Lambda Legal can know what will happen. I think this is more posturing on the part of the gay civil rights firmament to have a more inclusive ENDA. (And, I say this an attorney.) So while I applaud those efforts, politics is the art of the POSSIBLE.

    Posted by: Brandon | Nov 8, 2007 10:05:15 AM


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