The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is an important bill certain to pass the U.S. House by a substantial margin. It aims to add long overdue job protections for GLBT workers and managers. Rather, depending on what form it's in at any moment, that might just be GLB workers and managers.
- Everyone's most and least favorite current POTUS surely would veto any gay-friendly bill.
- There is no corresponding ENDA in the U.S. Senate.
- Lead sponsor U.S. Rep. Barney Frank is clearly conflicted about the bill and eager to decouple the transgender (that troublesome T) from the bill.
In addition, the Senate rules that require a supermajority of 60 to prevent filibusters have hobbled nearly all progressive platforms in Congress. The horse-trading and rush to dilute good legislation are truly the old way of doing business and many in Congress claim that can't and won't change. Yet, we don't have to foresee very far to note:
- In a decade the majority of voters will be the youngest baby boomers and the children of baby boomers. They did not grow up with the old prejudices — race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, immigrants — as the norm for their parents and grandparents. Poll after poll and results where they vote show that they favor equality and live-and-let-live politics. They're a lot harder to manipulate with emotional lies.
- A weary, declining nation looks at the devastation of right-wing fantasies of the past seven years. We all know of people who have died in unnecessary wars. We are more fearful for our safety than even in the Cold War. A budget surplus became a multi-trillion-dollar deficit, and our dollar and larger economy are crushing our future hopes.
What a monumental task that will be!
The confluence of a new generation of voters and the awareness of the older ones that so much of our fantasies are just that may reduce the pragmatism of failure that lawmakers say is necessary. We have had such periods before, such as the Progressive Era around WWI. Numerous laws and amendments that made life better for all Americans held sway over the timid and self-interested Reps and Senators. It looks like we're due for another such time.
The ENDA battle is an example. On the compromise side, you can listen to Barney Frank stake out his argument here and a cogent defense of that side was the lead editorial of last week's Bay Windows editorial. Those are powerful sets of reasons. Yet as Laurel noted yesterday, without an ENDA in the Senate and with the POTUS' veto looming, why not pass the right bill, the one including transgender rights, so that when a more honorable Congress assembles, they start with the proper expectations?
Many sources in the MSM as well as blogs have opinions and details on the irksome T on the end of GBLT. The best perspective I round was Monica Roberts at TransGriot. In her Transgender Community Hates HRC post, she provides the background of how many homosexuals, particularly men are uncomfortable with transgender folk and how some actively distance themselves, as Barney Frank has.
The trans community is small and has more problems coming out and being accepted — on the job or anywhere. Of course, that's solid justification for providing an ENDA that includes them.
Roberts makes a solid argument against splitting ENDA into a "'possible" GLB version, promising to add the T version in some unspecified future. She wrote:
So far the only states in which the gay and lesbian community has ‘come back’ for transgender people are Rhode Island (2001), California (2003), New Jersey (2006) and Vermont (2007). In New York they are still having a difficult time passing GENDA after transgender people were cut out of SONDA (N.Y.’s Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act) by gay rights advocating the same ‘we’ll come back for you’ incremental rights spin.So, you can understand when Barney or the Human Rights Campaign says, "Trust us. We'll protect you...later," that transgender people are skeptical.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, Congress, ENDA, GLBT, transgender, Barney Frank, Monica Roberts, Bay Windows