ENDA Hub




White House Press Secretary Argues Against 'ENDA' Executive Order, Says It Would Be 'Redundant'

LGBT advocates have been pressing for President Obama to issue an executive order barring discrimination against LGBT workers as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act languishes in Congress, faced by a House Speaker who says there is no chance he'll bring it to a vote.

CarneyThus far, the Press Secretary Jay Carney has insisted Obama supports such workplace protections but has directed questions from reporters asking if Obama will issue such an order to what it has said in the past, that the President would like to see the law passed by Congress.

Yesterday, Carney took the explaining a bit further, the Washington Blade reports:

“I think if the law passed — and I’m not a lawyer — and I haven’t read every sentence of the law, but I think if a law passed that broadly banned this kind of employment discrimination, it would make redundant an executive order,” Carney said.

Carney articulated his belief that an executive order would be “redundant” in the event ENDA became law after emphasizing the broad-based protections under the bill, which applies not just to federal contractors, but to many public and private employers.

“I think the employment non-discrimination legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would broadly apply, and that’s one of the reasons why we support it,” Carney said. “Because it’s a broad solution to the problem, and it ought to be passed by Congress.”

HRC lashed out at Carney:

“We couldn’t disagree more,” Sainz said. “Even if ENDA passed tomorrow, we’d still want the EO. His assertion is completely out of step with over 60 years of social change strategy related to enduring legal protections for race and gender and more recently for hate crimes and non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. What he’s asserting is the equivalent of saying that if ENDA passed tomorrow, we wouldn’t need non-discrimination laws in the majority of states that still don’t have them. That’s absolutely not the case.”

195 lawmakers recently sent a letter to Obama urging him to issue the executive order. Vice President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass the bill in a recent speech to HRC in L.A. And DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias expressed frustration on a listserv about the President's unwillingness to issue it, calling it "frustrating and perplexing."

On a related note, the Blade, in a separate article wants to introduce you to the 8 House Dems who don't co-sponsor ENDA. They are Reps. Dan Lipinksi (Ill.), Jim Costa (Calif.), John Barrow (Ga.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Pete Gallego (Texas), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Gene Green (Texas) and Nick Rahall (W.Va.).

Nodems_enda

 


DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias Expresses Frustration About Lack of 'ENDA' Executive Order

Add Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias to the growing list of individuals expressing concern over why President Obama has yet to issue an executive order barring LGBT discrimination among federal contractors, calling its absence “frustrating and perplexing.”

The Washington Blade reports that Tobias made the comments in an off-the-record listserv for LGBT donors:

Andrew tobias“I agree 100% with those who say it should be signed, 100% with those who believe we should keep pressing, and 100% with those who say it’s frustrating and perplexing,” Tobias wrote. “But I think we would be crazy to let it diminish our efforts to hold the Senate, get Nancy her gavel back, and lay the groundwork for a huge LGBT supporter to win the White House in 2016. (All our plausible 2016 nominees are huge LGBT supporters.)”

Tobias, who’s gay, confirmed to the Washington Blade the email indeed came from him as did other individuals on the listserv, who said the message came from his email account on Wednesday. Notably, these individuals said Tobias told LGBT donors in his email that listserv members should feel free to quote him as expressing those views. Tobias also told the Blade to quote him as such.

The paper notes that the remarks are striking for Tobias, who has a reputation for tamping down criticism and concern over the Obama administration and the DNC for not doing enough on LGBT rights.

Earlier this month, a prominent gay activist accused DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL) of discouraging Democratic lawmakers from signing a letter asking President Obama to issue the executive order.


Vice President Joe Biden Blasts Global Human Rights Abuses Against LGBT People: VIDEO

Biden

Vice President Joe Biden delivered a powerful speech to approximately 1,000 folks at the Human Rights Campaign Gala in Los Angeles last night focusing on the still-unpassed Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the importance of promoting LGBT rights internationally.

The Washington Blade reports:

“I travelled to most countries in the world, and I can tell you, they’re looking to us as an example, as a champion of LGBT rights everywhere,” Biden said during his 30-minute speech.

Noting that being gay is illegal in 80 countries, Biden laid out the challenges faced by LGBT people overseas. In places like in Jamaica, he decried the practice of “corrective rape” for lesbians, and was critical of the anti-gay law in Nigeria that makes entering into same-sex marriage or supporting LGBT rights punishable with time in prison.

The vice president also criticized Russia, which has recently been condemned by the United States by military incursion into Ukraine, over its law banning pro-gay propaganda to minors.

“By the way, as the great Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov said, ‘A country that does not respect the rights of its citizens will not respect the rights of its neighbors,’ and we’re seeing that today in Ukraine,” Biden said.

Buzzfeed adds that Biden also called the anti-gay discrimination in the U.S. "barbaric":

“Hate can never be defended because it’s a so-called cultural norm,” he said. “I’ve had it up to here with cultural norms.”

He called on Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, which would outlaw discrimination by most private employers against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Read Biden's full remarks HERE.

Continue reading "Vice President Joe Biden Blasts Global Human Rights Abuses Against LGBT People: VIDEO" »


195 Lawmakers, All Dems, Sign Letter Urging Obama to Protect LGBT Workers in Executive Order

A group of 195 U.S. lawmakers (148 House members and 47 Senators) has sent a letter to President Obama urging him to issue and executive order banning federal contractors from engaging in employment discrimination against LGBT Americans.

HoyerThe letter reads:

We are writing to urge you to fulfill the promise in your State of the Union address to make this a “year of action” and build upon the momentum of 2013 by signing an executive order banning federal contractors from engaging in employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. As you have said before, “now is the time to end this kind of discrimination, not enable it.”

As we continue to work towards final passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with strong bipartisan support, we urge you to take action now to protect millions of workers across the country from the threat of discrimination simply because of who they are or who they love. We are committed to doing all that we can in Congress to get ENDA to your desk this year; however, there is no reason you cannot immediately act by taking this important step. This executive order would provide LGBT people with another avenue in the federal government they could turn to if they were the victim of employment discrimination by a federal contractor. When combined with ENDA, these non-discrimination protections would parallel those that have been in place for decades on the basis of race, sex and religion.

An executive order covering LGBT employees would be in line with a bipartisan, decades-long commitment to eradicating taxpayer-funded discrimination in the workplace. In 1941, President Roosevelt prohibited discrimination in defense contracts on the bases of race, creed, color, or national origin. In subsequent executive orders, Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson expanded these protections to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to discriminate.

In addition, most of the largest government contractors – companies like Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin – have LGBT non-discrimination policies in place. They adopted them because business leaders recognize that discrimination is bad for the bottom line.

Finally, time is of the essence. Even with an executive order in place, full implementation of these protections will require regulations to be developed and finalized, a process that will take many months, if not longer, to fully put in place.

Issuing an executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT workers in federal contracts would build on the significant progress for LGBT rights made during your time as President and would further your legacy as a champion for LGBT equality. We urge you to act now to prevent irrational, taxpayer-funded workplace discrimination against LGBT Americans.

For House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD, pictured) and Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC), it's the first time signing such a letter. Pelosi and Reid did not sign, noting they do not sign group letters.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz did not sign the letter. Last week it was reported that she had discouraged House members from signing it, a charge which her spokesperson called a "bald-faced lie."

The Washington Blade adds:

Not a single Republican signed the letter. Not one of the 10 Republicans who voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the Senate late last year any of the six GOP co-sponsors of ENDA in the House penned their name to the missive.

Said Ian Thompson, the ACLU's legislative representative, who helped gather signatures for the letter:

“This letter, and the breadth of support for it, makes clear what we have long argued: we need both ENDA and a non-discrimination executive order for federal contractors. This executive order represents the most important step President Obama can take on his own during the remainder of his term in office to eradicate LGBT discrimination from workplaces in America. There is no reason for further delay.”

Read the letter below:

LGBT Executive Order Letter 3/18/14


Activist Claims DNC Chair Discouraged Dems from Urging Obama to Issue 'ENDA' Executive Order

A prominent activist is accusing DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL, pictured) of discouraging Democratic lawmakers from signing a letter asking President Obama to issue an executive order that would ban workplace discrimination against LGBT people, the Washington Blade reports.

Wasserman-schultzHouse Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly said he will not allow a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which passed the Senate for the first time this year, and activists are growing impatient.

Said Paul Yandura, political director for gay philanthropist Jonathan Lewis, to the Blade:

"I was told personally by two members that she was tamping down on public calls for the president to make good on his promise — this was last year when the issue was really getting hot. She is most likely doing the same still," adding, "I think she doesn’t want to embarrass the president, and still doesn’t want to embarrass the president, because it is an embarrassment that he still hasn’t done it. We’re now coming down to the end of the second term, and if they don’t get moving on it, it’ll never even get implemented."

Wasserman Schultz's spokesperwon Mara Sloan called Yandura's assertions a "bald-faced lie," adding:

"The congresswoman believes the most effective way to ensure equal rights for LGBT Americans in the workplace is through passing comprehensive non-discrimination legislation. The congresswoman regularly speaks to the administration about issues important to the LGBT community, and will continue to be a fierce advocate for full equality."

Yandura said his claims are based on things he heard while collecting signatures for a 2013 letter urging Obama to issue the order.

More at the Blade....

WILL REPUBLICANS BE THE KEY TO ENDA?

SingerIn related news, a group of wealthy Republicans and former GOP lawmakers are joining an HRC-led campaign to push the House to take a vote on ENDA, USA Today reports:

"America is a place where the freedom to be who you are shouldn't be a barrier to your ability to get a job and provide for your family," said Paul Singer (pictured), a billionaire hedge fund founder and big Republican donor. Singer is putting $375,000 toward the push for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. "In the workplace, employees should be judged on their merit and hard work and not on aspects that are irrelevant to their performance."

Fellow billionaire and GOP donor Seth Klarman also donated $375,000 to the campaign spearheaded by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights lobby. HRC is putting up an additional $1.3 million in the effort to get 218 House lawmakers — a majority of the chamber — on record in support of ENDA.

The campaign plans to go after 48 persuadable House Republicans and gain their support for the bill:

If the group can get 218 lawmakers on public record in support of the legislation, they say House GOP leaders, including Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, may have to rethink their decision not to vote this year.

Boehner told members of the LGBT caucus at an historic first meeting earlier this year that ENDA had no chances of seeing a vote in 2014.


Labor Sec'y Perez Says an 'ENDA' Executive Order Continues to Be Under Consideration: VIDEO

Perez

In a surprise appearance in front of the White House Press Corps. yesterday, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez was asked by Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade if an executive order protecting LGBT workers from discrimination and gender identity is something his department could implement.

Said Perez:

Well, I can’t get into what-ifs. I’m certainly aware of the executive order that was proposed that you’re talking about. And the President takes a backseat to no one in his commitment for equal access to opportunity for people regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. And it’s an issue that we continue to contemplate and work on.

Later, White House Press Secretary insisted that the EO was a hypothetical but was corrected by a Reuters reporter in light of Perez's comments that no, it's clearly not a hypothetical.

Carney replied:

I think broadly speaking, the administration looks at all opportunities to advance an agenda that expands opportunity, that levels the playing field, that sustains equal opportunity for all that is part of the President’s vision. That’s as a broad matter. On specific — would the President do this executive action or that executive action, I mean, that list could be endless, and I don’t have any update for you on that kind of proposition.

Watch the exchanges, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Labor Sec'y Perez Says an 'ENDA' Executive Order Continues to Be Under Consideration: VIDEO" »


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged