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ENDA Discharge Petition Stalls at 190 Signatures; 28 More Necessary

A discharge petition filed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the U.S. House of Representatives appears to have stalled after 190 Democrats signed their names to it, the Washington Blade reports:

PolisDespite the immediate growth in signatures for the discharge petition within the week it was filed, no one has penned their name this week as of Tuesday, and even the names of some ENDA co-sponsors aren’t on the document.

Four Democrats who co-sponsor ENDA and are able to vote on the floor — Reps. Linda Sanchez (Calif.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Peter Visclosky (Ind.), Jim Matheson (Utah) — haven’t signed the discharge petition. None of their offices responded to the Blade’s request for a comment on why their names were absent.

For at least of two of these Democrats, the issue may be the narrowed religious exemption in this version of ENDA. Matheson represents a portion of Utah in the U.S. House that has Mormon-affiliated businesses; Visclosky is a Catholic.

The petition requires at least 218 signatures to force a House vote on the measure.

There are also reports that work may be underway to attach the ENDA language to a larger piece of legislation.

More at the Blade...


Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) Says Firing Gay People Is a 'Freedom We Enjoy' - VIDEO

Pittenger

Representative Robert Pittenger (R-NC) is courting controversy for remarks made at a recent town hall meeting in response to a question asking whether or not he supported the Employment Non-Discrimination Act - which would protect LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace.

Responded Pittenger:

"It's like smoking bans. Do you ban smoking or do people have the right to private property? I think people have the right to private property… If you have a business, do you want the government to come in and tell you you need to hire somebody? Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?"

Backlash was swift, with gay rights groups and even the Charlotte Observer calling out Pittenger's stance. The paper wrote an op-ed Tuesday saying Pittenger's flawed argument could've been made for racial discrimination in the past. 

Watch a NBC Charlotte news report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Pittenger2In an attempt to clarify his comments, Pittenger issued a statement to the station Wednesday saying:

"The statutes are clear, that Americans are well protected already. We should fully enforce current laws against discrimination. I hear America's cry for more jobs and a stronger economy, not more federal regulations added to the vast maze of federal regulations we have already. That can only stifle the ability of entrepreneurs to create new businesses and new jobs. It's incredibly hard to operate or start a business already, and I don't think America is begging for more obstacles to an economic recovery. Where does it stop? Is the next regulation going to prohibit a layoff even during an economic downturn? Will the next law mandate full employment? Where does the government's role in dictating our daily lives end? That's the debate we should be having."

Contrary to Pittenger's idiotic follow-up statement's implications, North Carolina and 28 other states continue to have no protections for LGBT people facing discrimination in the workplace. 

An ENDA discharge petition being pushed by Rep. Jared Polis currently has the support of 75 lawmakers - all of whom are Democrats.

Continue reading "Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) Says Firing Gay People Is a 'Freedom We Enjoy' - VIDEO" »


ENDA Discharge Petition So Far Has Support from 75 Dems, No Republicans

A discharge petition for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) being pushed by Rep. Jared Polis has the support of 75 of 218 lawmakers it needs to succeed, the Washington Blade reports.

PolisThe petition has no Republican support so far, even from GOP lawmakers who went so far as to co-sponsor the original bill:

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), an original co-sponsor of ENDA, has already vowed not to sign a discharge petition, saying through a spokesperson it’s a “partisan political tool.”

But Polis took Republican supporters of ENDA to task, saying it’s time “to throw down the gauntlet” because co-sponsoring the legislation isn’t enough.

Still, the bill, which has a narrowed religious exemption, faces challenges even if passed by the House, the Blade adds:

Even if the House were to succeed in passing ENDA with a narrower discharge petition, the chances of passing a version of the bill in the Senate with that language would be complicated. Still, Polis expressed confidence the upper chamber of Congress would pass the bill if the discharge petition were successful.

“The previous incarnation of ENDA was in the pre-Hobby Lobby era,” Polis said. “I’m confident that if this is brought to the House floor and passes, the Senate will be able to expeditiously act on this bill and sent it to the president’s desk.”

The Blade reports that Dems are "bullish" on its prospects. At least one pundit is skeptical:


Rep. Jared Polis Files Discharge Petition for ENDA with Narrowed Religious Exemption

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511e857e6970c-320wiOut Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) announced today that he has filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Polis is the chief sponsor of ENDA and is also the co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. From Rep. Polis' statement:

A discharge petition is a procedure to force a vote on legislation if it receives signatures from the majority of the House of Representatives. This move comes after the House Republican leadership has continued to refuse to hold a vote on this bipartisan bill.
 
“This is common sense legislation that is supported by a majority of Americans and was passed overwhelmingly by the United States Senate,” said Rep. Polis. “The Republicans have been dragging their feet on this bill for too long, allowing workplace discrimination against hardworking LGBT Americans to continue. In our nation that was founded on the notion that with hard work and dedication anyone can get ahead, it is unthinkable that employees can still be fired for who they love or what gender they are. I hope Members from both sides of the aisle will sign this petition and protect all Americans from discrimination in the work place.”

In July, some speculated that a discharge petition was a likely move that Polis would make. Meanwhile, many activist groups, including the ACLU, Lambda Legal, NCLR and Transgender Law Center pulled their support from ENDA because of a religious exemption in the legislation. The HRC held on though, insisting that a narrower religious exemption was needed as a way forward. Polis soon took action in hopes of keeping ENDA alive. The Washington Blade reports:

Following the outcry of these groups, Polis introduced a resolution before the House Rules Committee, H.Res. 678, that would narrow ENDA’s religious exemption in the event the committee approved the bill for a vote on the House floor.

It’s that version of ENDA that would come up for a vote if the discharge petition is successful. But it remains to be seen how that version of ENDA would fare in the Senate, where a more expanded religious exemption was deemed necessary for passage.

If passed, ENDA would "bar employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, if a majority of House members, or 218, sign the petition."

You can read the discharge petition HERE.


LGBT Activist Group Queer Nation Targets Jared Polis on ENDA

Queernation

The LGBTQ activist group Queer Nation, founded by one-time ACT UP members, is targeting Democratic House Representative Jared Polis, according to their website.

Polis, who is a gay man, recently introduced two resolutions to the House floor as a first step towards triggering a discharge petition to pass a modified version of ENDA.

“Jared Polis and the Democrats are desperately trying to salvage a worthless bill, but a pig wearing lipstick is still a pig,” said Andrew Miller, a member of Queer Nation in a press release. “No version of ENDA will make LGBT people equal under the law. Only a comprehensive civil rights law will do that."


Gay Texas Foster Children Caretaker Fired For PDA With His Fiance: VIDEO

Casey stegall

A caretaker for foster children in Lubbock, Texas, was fired recently after he introduced some teenage clients to his fiance during an outing at a water park on the Fourth of July, reports Lone Star Q.

Officials at the Children’s Home of Lubbock, which is affiliated with a Christian church, accused Casey Stegall of engaging in a public display of affection with another man.  

Speaking to The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Children’s Home president Lynn Harms said:

“When you are implementing life training and so forth — particularly with children — to put a confused message out there is counterproductive. If you want to try to force our culture to meet your expectations, that’s not going to go well. I don’t feel like the culture here has to meet an individual’s desire for the world to be different.”

Harms also said that gay employees who “fly under the radar” are accepted but that other gay employees have been fired because of “how they conduct their business.”

Devastated by his termination, Stegall has since contacted attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

Although cities around the U.S., including Houston, have introduced municipal ordinances banning anti-LGBT employment discrimination, Lubbock has not done so.

Last week, President Barack Obama signed an executive order banning anti-LGBT discrimination among federal contractors. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would ban anti-LGBT discrimination by private employers, remains stalled in the U.S. House. However, last week the Washington Blade reported that Democratic House Representative Jared Polis is preparing to initiate a discharge petition for (ENDA).

Watch a video of Stegall discussing the termination of his contract, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Texas Foster Children Caretaker Fired For PDA With His Fiance: VIDEO" »


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