Where’s the Vote on ENDA?

Lisa Keen at Bay Windows wonders where the vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is:

Barney  "Supporters of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) say they have the votes to pass the bill, they are just waiting for the Democratic leadership to call the bill to the floor. But the leadership has grown quiet — no more regular expressions of optimism and predictions for when Congress will take up the bill, and the waiting game is wearing on nerves.

'The community and the movement have done everything we’ve been asked to do,' said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, this week. NCTE is one of the key groups lobbying for the bill this session, taking the lead on the additional language that seeks to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, as well as sexual orientation.

'We’ve worked and worked and gotten sufficient votes to make sure gender identity stays in the bill,' said Keisling, 'but the bill is not being prioritized.'"

Focus appears to be turning toward transgender provisions, again:

"Given the controversy both on the state and national level, some transgender individuals are concerned that they will eventually be left out of the congressional legislation. 'Many people are concerned that [Frank] sees transgender rights as a bargaining chip, the first thing to get rid of,' Stryker said.

This time, Frank said, he’s committed to keeping transgender rights. The Massachusetts Democrat, who has been openly gay since 1987, has pushed for employment protections since he was a state representative in the 1970s, when some people didn’t want to think about gay people, Frank said. 'To some extent, the transgender community is in that same situation, where the very mention of it makes people uncomfortable,' he said."

Kerry Eleveld at The Advocate reports that Democrats are worried about dirty tricks from the GOP, and won't discuss the timing of a vote:

"Democratic aides said Thursday that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is still headed for a vote, but they continue to be concerned about Republicans offering what’s known as a “motion to recommit” to the legislation that might torpedo the bill or reduce its transgender protections…Gural said the vote count — or whip count — continues to be conducted through the office of the House majority whip, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, as well as those of representatives Frank, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Jared Polis of Colorado.

According to Baldwin, members are being asked two questions: how they would vote on final passage of ENDA and how they would vote on a hypothetical motion to recommit that would diminish protections for transgender individuals. But specific language for a motion to recommit does not have to be offered until just minutes before a vote is taken, so it’s nearly impossible to know what form it might take.

'With over 200 cosponsors, passage of the bill is assured,' Baldwin said in an interview two weeks ago. 'I think the only question mark is what sort of meddlesome motion to recommit will be brought forward.'"

GLAAD has expressed concerns about how discussions of transgender provisions in ENDA are proceeding in the media:

"Most of the recent articles discussing ENDA problematically devote significant space to publishing defamatory statements about transgender people by anti-LGBT organizations like the Traditional Values Coalition and its executive director Andrea Lafferty. They frequently describe transgender people as “she-males” and mentally ill. Such defamatory remarks should never be used simply in an effort to provide opposing viewpoints, especially when they stem from a source that is listed as a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry."


  1. Mike says

    Why should the trans portion of this be saddled to the backs of the gay and lesbian community? If it can get passed without it then dump that portion and move on with it!

    That can come later.

  2. JusticeontheRocks says

    Politics, unfortunately, is about what is possible, not moral absolutes. Sometimes you have to do what you can do and move on. This may be one of those times.

    That said, the lack of focus from congressional leadership and the lame efforts of our chief lobbyists take much of the blame.

  3. TANK says

    So you want to throw the trannies under the bus for cheap political gain? How does that benefit us? Moreso, how is that better than things the subhuman trash who oppose us practice? Do you realize that T inclusion as a sticking point is merely an excuse, and if we sell our own people up the river, it will be another excuse? (I think the last sentence is the only one worth reading, to be honest).

  4. missanthrope says

    “Why should the trans portion of this be saddled to the backs of the gay and lesbian community? If it can get passed without it then dump that portion and move on with it!”

    I think I’ve heard this one before as in:

    “Why don’t Democrats drop unpopular gay rights bill, why should Democrats sacrifice their agenda for a minority of gays?”

    But now you’re willing to drop trans people because it’s convenient for you? That’s beyond comtempt.

    “. Sometimes you have to do what you can do and move on. This may be one of those times.”

    Something tells me your rights aren’t at stake over dropping trans rights protections. If the shoe was on the other foot and gay rights were being dropped, would you feel the same?

  5. BobN says

    You’d think the time to hold the vote would be now, what with all the GOP pols running around saying orientation shouldn’t matter for a SCOTUS appointment (not that they mean it, of course).

  6. L Ray says

    Your comments are so wrong, Mike, I can hardly believe they are not the rantings of a member of the Westboro Baptist Church. No one is equal unless ALL of us are equal. Following your argument, why don’t we exclude YOU from legal protections and give these rights to the rest of us? We’re fighting for EQUALITY FOR ALL, not EQUALITY FOR SOME. I don’t know if you are actually ignorant of the suffering and discrimination and struggles that transgender people go through without full protection of the law, but your comments are highly offensive and strongly urge you never to speak them in public lest someone kick your ass.

    Reality check: trans people have it a helluva lot harder than us gay males and lesbians. Transgender people are disproportionately impacted by employment discrimination, poverty and unemployment.

    The National Transgender Discrimination Survey, conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, found that transgender people “experience unemployment [and poverty] at twice the rate of the population as a whole.” Some 97 percent faced “harassment or mistreatment on the job,” including one in three respondents who reported having to “present in the wrong gender to keep [their] job.”

  7. L Ray says

    We’re not talking about childish things. We’re talking about one’s ability to have a job to meet the basic requirements of human survival. The denial of these rights and protections IS a literal death sentence. If anything, the transgender community needs these protections even more than the gay male community.

    And you suggest we betray them once again? Hell no. The bigots want us to be divided. The bigots want the gay men to distance themselves from the lesbians and the bisexuals. The bigots want the lgbt community to be divided from the African-American community and the immigrant community. Our strength comes from our solidarity and our refusal to throw any of our brothers and sisters under the bus.

    As a strategy for winning full equality, compromising away some portion of the community for the sake of the rest of the community is a proven dead end. Every victory the lgbt community has ever had has been won through solidarity, the explicit refusal to accept the bigots’ way of thinking and fight together against the common enemy. Barney Frank, Ted Kennedy, and the HRC already tried what you suggest. Last time ENDA was up, the compromised and cut trans folks out of the legislation, exactly as you are suggesting. And guess what happened? IT DIDN’T PASS ANYWAY!

    Redirect your contempt for trans folks to the people responsible for the situation: the Democratic Party leadership. The Democrats are the ones denying you equal rights, not trans people. The Democrats are the ones making high promises and delivering nothing.

  8. niles says

    The trans community has tried to piggyback their rights onto the gay community for some time. This could have been a done deal years ago.

  9. MCnNYC says

    Honestly..do know if the trans community identifies with the LGB community?

    I know I can be shot down but I really struggle cause orientation…sexual orientation was the issue. My understanding at this point has been that sexual orientation is not the core of the transgender person. It is a deeper issue.

  10. John says

    They should not compromise on gender identity at this stage. Giving up too early on the public option was what got them in trouble with health care reform. It will be a close result – perhaps even a little too close for comfort – but they appear to have the votes to pass ENDA in the current form.

    It is a forgone conclusion that the peers will tear this House legislation apart before passing a highly watered down version of their own. Because that’s what always happens. There will be all sorts of exemptions for churches, boy scouts, bed and breakfasts, and God knows what else. That is, if Lord Reid of Searchlight can even muster the 60 votes to move it forward. Thus, it is absolutely essential that the House goes into conference with a strong hand. And that means the progressives really have to fight for the bill “as is” now.

  11. Derek says

    “I just wanna say that I was the first one on this comment section to use the bus that people get thrown under metaphor.”

    LOL who really cares you obnoxious fuck?


  12. TruthSeeker_Too says

    We have the votes to pass the bill (T-inclusive), but we’re worried about a motion to recommit? WTF — if you can pass a bill, you can defeat the motion. More delay, delay, delay from our “friends” in Demo leadership, not to mention our fierce advocate in the WH.

  13. 24play says

    ENDA’s gonna pass the House intact.

    The problem is the Senate. To get 60 votes there, we’re going to have to attach ENDA as an amendment to a larger, must-pass bill–just like the Hate Crimes bill. And the Senate is where we’re likely to see trans protections stripped out of the bill.

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