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White House Prefers Legislative Route For All-Inclusive ENDA

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Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney yesterday whether President Obama planned to revive a shelved executive order barring anti-LGBT discrimination among government contractors.

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that the White House wants to model an ENDA-type law's progress on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell model: that is, fight for it in Congress.

"Our position on that hasn’t changed,” Carney told Johnson during a press briefing. “We point to, as you and I have discussed, the process that led to the effective repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as a model for the way to approach these issues. I don’t have any updates for you on our approach."

He went on, "The president supports an inclusive ENDA that would provide lasting and comprehensive protections for LGBT people across the country regardless of whether they happen to work for a government contractor, and we look forward to continuing to support that process and that legislation."

Johnson asked Carney about the ability to pass such a controversial piece of legislation — addressing transgender discrimination is far more difficult than addressing anti-gay discrimination — in a GOP led House, to which Carney replied, “Many people said just that, even though it was in the prior Congress, about repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ We believe that the country has moved dramatically on issues like this, and that this president is committed to civil rights and to building on protections that are necessary for LGBT people as he is for all Americans.”

You can read a transcript of Johnson and Carney's exchange AFTER THE JUMP.

 

Washington Blade: Jay, I want to go back to something we haven’t talked about for a while. There’s been a renewed call for President Obama to issue that executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers. Over the weekend, Steve Elemendorf, one of the president’s supporters during the election, said it needs to happen within the first six months of next year. Will President Obama revisit this idea as he begins his second term?

Jay Carney: Our position on that hasn’t changed. We point to, as you and I have discussed, the process that led to the effective repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as a model for the way to approach these issues. I don’t have any updates for you on our approach. The president supports an inclusive-ENDA that would provide lasting and comprehensive protections for LGBT people across the country regardless of whether they happen to work for a government contractor, and we look forward to continuing to support that process and that legislation.

Blade: So that rules out the possibility of the order within the first six months of next year?

Carney: Again, I’m not speculating on a hypothetical situation. I would simply point to what our position has been and the avenue that we believe is the best to pursue broad-based protections for LGBT people.

Blade: Given that Republicans still control Congress after Election Day, isn’t leaving this up to the legislative process condemn LGBT people to lack of workplace non-discrimination protections for at least two years?

Carney: Many people said just that, even though it was in the prior Congress, about repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We believe that the country has moved dramatically on issues like this, and that this president is committed to civil rights and to building on protections that are necessary for LGBT people as he is for all Americans.

Blade: One last question.

Carney: I’ve given about all I can give.

Blade: President Obama said in May when he endorsed marriage equality that he spoken with service members who were discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and with same-sex couples looking to be married. Has he ever spoken to a victim of LGBT workplace discrimination?

Carney: I don’t know that he has or hasn’t. I just don’t have a conversation to read out to you.

Blade: Can you get back to me on that?

Carney: I’m not going to ask him about every conversation he’s had.

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Comments

  1. Ridiculous and unacceptable feet-dragging. There is no chance whatsoever that an inclusive ENDA could pass the House, and only a tiny chance that a sexual-orientation-only version could. We need that executive order. Don't Ask Don't Tell is not even remotely comparable, because both houses were controlled by Democrats then.

    Posted by: Fodolodo | Dec 6, 2012 9:03:12 AM


  2. We will not wait, we will not be silent, we will not stop until we have full equality in every corner of the globe.

    After 1000’s years our generation has made the break though.

    I find it amusing any one might think might stop pushing.

    Posted by: Jacques Rosasj | Dec 6, 2012 9:21:19 AM


  3. An ENDA that covers all sexual orientations is fully inclusive. ENDA does not need to cover "gender identity." The insistence of some gay activists to include "gender identity" is the primary reason this bill hasn't passed. It is also the primary reason that local versions of the bill have been voted down in Anchorage and in several cities in Kansas this year. We need to stop insisting on putting in provisions covering transvestites and all manner of "gender expression" and just get a simple sexual orientation anti-discrimination law passed.

    Posted by: Jeff | Dec 6, 2012 9:30:10 AM


  4. With DADT, the Administration played the political game just right, despite many complaints of foot-dragging. Americans tend to respect decisions that go through the (farcical) legislative process -- more than decisions produced by the Executive or Judicial branches (cf Justice Ginsburg's thoughts on Roe v. Wade and ongoing battles over abortion).

    However, DADT went through a Democratic House. There is no way in hell that Boehner will move ENDA on his watch. For the sake of legitimacy, we should try comprehensive legislation. But when it inevitably fails, we need an Executive Order as a stop-gap until the House comes around.

    Posted by: Lars | Dec 6, 2012 9:36:13 AM


  5. Shame on Obama for his cowardice on this issue

    Posted by: MaryM | Dec 6, 2012 9:51:57 AM


  6. Blah, blah, blah thanks for putting me back in office (even though you had no choice) but providing for your equal rights is just too difficult until the public feels like it. The footnote on the constitution clearly states that this document is only optionally applicable for "the gays."

    Posted by: Nigel | Dec 6, 2012 9:52:23 AM


  7. "The longer answer is that the White House wants to model an ENDA-type law's progress on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell model: that is, fight for it in Congress."

    But see, President Obama didn't fight for the repeal of DADT. It was Democrats in a lame duck session that did so.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Dec 6, 2012 9:56:07 AM


  8. What a wretched man Obama is.

    A spineless minnow of a human being, with little interest in justice or civil rights.

    Such a pity that we don't live in a democracy. If we lived in a democracy we would have had a far better choice than that no-mark coward Obama.

    Posted by: MaryM | Dec 6, 2012 10:11:38 AM


  9. As noted by Bill Maher, dispatches from the bubble - "But see, President Obama didn't fight for the repeal of DADT. It was Democrats in a lame duck session that did so."

    BTW, people should go back and read the comments about the article written by Frank Bruni about Bill Clinton versus the comments in this section. Take about a Tale of Two Cities.

    Posted by: Belthazar | Dec 6, 2012 10:14:28 AM


  10. @Lars - "However, DADT went through a Democratic House.." But, it did not go through a filibuster proof [Democratic] Senate.

    Remember, without the 6-Republicans that voted to end debate (break the filibuster 63-23), DADT would never had come to a final vote. Snowe, Brown, and Collins were heavily lobbied. In the final vote, 8-Republicans voted in favor of repeal.

    Posted by: Belthazar | Dec 6, 2012 10:36:18 AM


  11. Well, now that the election is over and Obama's place is secure, we need to take off the kid gloves and take him to task over ENDA. Time to stop kissing his ass and push back. Unfortunately HRC has sucked the spine out of Chad Griffith and they are pretty useless again. The rest of the orgs do not have the access that HRC does so we are kind of stuck right now.

    Posted by: KP | Dec 6, 2012 10:39:55 AM


  12. Keep pushing for it any way. In states like Tennessee, we need this. Sign the petition for the executive order and share it widely. Thanks. http://www.wh.gov/9ALQ

    Posted by: Chris Sanders | Dec 6, 2012 11:55:07 AM


  13. And what happened to all those Obama supporters who said Obama would become a true "fierce advocate" once he got re-elected.

    Idiots

    Posted by: Wayne | Dec 6, 2012 12:02:35 PM


  14. I find it interesting that the fight for ENDA is being compared to the fight to repeal DADT. They are not the same at all since ENDA included transgender folks and the repeal of DADT excluded transgender folks. As unpopular as it may be to activists, I think the T's should be removed from ENDA. If they don't it will be many years before ENDA has any chance of passage.

    Posted by: Howard | Dec 6, 2012 12:35:56 PM


  15. Well, I hate to say I told you so, but....I told you so.

    Since Far Left gay activists oppose all Republicans--even the moderates who have supported us--in favor of Democrats, moderate Republicans have learned that there is absolutely nothing to gain by supporting gay rights. And at the same time, these activists have harrassed and spit on any gay people who have tried to build bridges to the Republicans and branded them as "self-loathing" just because of their party affiliation.

    And this has made it possible for the Democratic Party to take gays for granted, since they have nowhere else to go......which in turn will allow them to ignore the gay agenda, as Obama has done in this instance and will continue to do.....all just as I predicted.

    Stupid is as stupid does.....and the proof is in the pudding.

    Posted by: Rick | Dec 6, 2012 2:07:26 PM


  16. "White House wants to model an ENDA ... on the [DADT] model: that is, fight for it in Congress."

    Except I don't recall the White House fighting for DADT repeal in Congress much, if at all.

    Now that Obama doesn't have to face re-election, we're seeing his true colors. Turns out, his first term wasn't an act.

    Posted by: Randy | Dec 6, 2012 2:16:12 PM


  17. It's amazing how wanting to enact ENDA through Congressional legislation, a more lasting and permanent act, has brought out all the Obama haters once more. He's accomplished nearly every other pro-quality measure this way before. I don't understand why people on this site to continue to question Obama's leadership on legislative issues. He has a proven track record of success and yet that's still enough for some of you.

    Posted by: sugarrhill | Dec 6, 2012 2:56:07 PM


  18. Sugarrhill,

    many of these anti-Obama b.tches are Republicans anyway. They didn't vote for him, so they're full of sh.t.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Dec 6, 2012 3:05:16 PM


  19. He's doing it the correct way. Again.

    Posted by: Wow | Dec 6, 2012 3:49:56 PM


  20. @BELTHAZAR, fair point. And I am the first to laud the Republicans who have taken a stand on the right side of Equality. As my comments on other threads should demonstrate, I'm a strong proponent of making allies on both sides of the aisle. No stone unturned.

    But the fact remains that the pro-equality voices in the GOP remain a distinct minority. And their leadership certainly doesn't represent them yet. Boehner won't let ENDA happen -- though I'd love to be proven wrong.

    Posted by: Lars | Dec 6, 2012 5:15:26 PM


  21. Oh and all the Obama-bashing here would be hilarious, if it were not so disgustingly offensive. And so utterly detached from reality.

    Posted by: Lars | Dec 6, 2012 5:28:11 PM


  22. You would think people would know by now that the President isn't stupid, isn't removed from reality, is an ally, and will make things happen for us and ensure they are everlasting throughout the years after his terms are over. I guess not.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 6, 2012 5:54:11 PM


  23. Actually, Francis, you might want to ask those some 800 additional gay service members who Obama needlessly let be kicked out while legislation proceeded whether they agree with you that he's perfect. He had unequivocal power under federal law 10 USC 12305 to override ANY law to freeze discharges in the name of national security—which he had said such discharges WEAKENED. Further, the ban is NOT gone "everlasting throughout the years" specifically BECAUSE he allowed his DOJ—even after repeal—to convince the courts to overturn the ruling that such discrimination by the military was unconstitutional. Thus, it COULD be brought back by a future Congress or executive order. I don't think it will be, but the facts in opposition to your childish hero worship are important to understand.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Dec 6, 2012 6:17:11 PM


  24. @ Rick,

    The Romney crowd might be an example of what you call "moderate" Republicans who have "learned that there is absolutely nothing to gain by supporting gay rights." Well, sure there's something that Republicans like Romney can gain by supporting gay rights. They might actually win an election or two rather than repeat their disastrous performance in presidential races, Senate races and ballot initiatives. As you say, stupid is as stupid does. By the way, Rick, watch where you're walking and be careful not to fall off that demographic cliff.

    Posted by: Artie_in_Lauderdale | Dec 6, 2012 10:32:15 PM


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