If you've been reading the Blend over the last couple of days, you know that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) will introduce two versions of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — the original one that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and the watered-down, trans-free version that may have a chance of passage (even though everyone knows Bush will veto it). (The Advocate):
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said she wasn’t convinced the original trans-inclusive bill couldn’t pass. “We think the bill was pulled prematurely and abruptly,” said Keisling. “Because they pulled the bill, we’ll never know.”
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the only other out gay member of Congress, will not put her name on the trans-stripped ENDA bill that will be taken up by the Labor and Education Committee.
In response to the prospect of a non trans-inclusive ENDA, National Stonewall Democrats has put up a web petition, nosubstitutes.org, in support of the trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, HR 2015 (you can also click the ad at right or the image below).
Now a substitute bill has been introduced as HR 3685, which would not stop discrimination based on gender identity. Removing gender identity from ENDA would leave an artificial aftertaste. Not only would the substitute bill leave some working Americans behind, it would also create divisions among Democrats and fair-minded advocates.
Let's help Congress continue to build support for the original ENDA. The well-intended substitute just won't do.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, along with more than 90 national and state LGBT organizations, has signed a letter that was hand-delivered this morning to Congress. It urges that legislators reject the substitute bill. Read the letter after the jump.
United opposition to sexual-orientation-only employment nondiscrimination legislation
October 1, 2007
Dear Madam Speaker and Representatives:
The undersigned represent the vast and celebrated diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in this country. Some of us are national leaders of organizations with tens of thousands of members and constituents, some of us run the only local organization in our state. But we are united in a common cause: We ask you to keep working with us on an Employment Non-Discrimination Act that protects everyone in our community, and to oppose any substitute legislation that leaves some of us behind.
We ask and hope that in this moment of truth, you will stand for the courage real leadership sometimes demands. You each command enormous respect from all of us and we do appreciate the difficulty of balancing a variety of competing demands. But the correct course in this case and on this legislation is strikingly clear. We oppose legislation that leaves part of our community without protections and basic security that the rest of us are provided.
You told us you supported a fully inclusive ENDA and would bring it up for a vote this year. We expect that you will honor that commitment and we look forward to working together to pass a bill that we can all be proud to support.
National Association of LGBT Community Centers
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Coalition for LGBT Health
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc.
National Stonewall Democrats
National Transgender Advocacy Coalition
National Youth Advocacy Coalition
American Institute of Bisexuality
Bi Mental Health Professionals Association
Bisexual Resource Center
Bi Writers Association
COLAGE (Children of Lesbians And Gays Everywhere)
Equality Project Investor Advocates
Faith In America
Family Pride Coalition
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders
GLSEN – the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
Freedom to Marry
International Federation of Black Prides
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch
Matthew Shepard Foundation
Metropolitan Community Churches
Mautner Project: the National Lesbian Health Organization
New Ways Ministry
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Pride At Work, AFL-CIO
Reconciling Ministries Network (United Methodists)
Transgender American Veterans Association
Transgender Law and Policy Institute
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
TransYouth Family Advocates
State Organizations (grouped by state, alphabetically)
Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center
Transgender Law Center (California)
Equal Rights Colorado
Love Makes A Family (Connecticut)
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.
MEGA Family Project (Georgia)
Idaho Equality Committee of Your Family Friends and Neighbors
Kentucky Fairness Alliance
Triangle Foundation (Michigan)
Montana Human Rights Network
Citizens For Equal Protection (Nebraska)
Garden State Equality (New Jersey)
New Jersey Lesbian & Gay Coalition
New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition
Concord Outright (New Hampshire)
Seacoast Outright (New Hampshire)
Equality New Mexico
Empire State Pride Agenda (New York)
New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA)
Equality North Carolina
EqualityToledo Community Action
Kaleidoscope Youth Center (Columbus, OH)
Basic Rights Oregon
Equality Advocates Pennsylvania
Northeastern PA Rainbow Alliance
Marriage Equality Rhode Island
Alliance For Full Acceptance – South Carolina
Equality South Dakota
Tennessee Equality Project
Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition
R.U.1.2? Community Center (Vermont)
Equal Rights Washington
Center Advocates (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Contact your representative —
The U.S. Capitol Switchboard is 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your rep’s office.
To send an e-mail to your Representative, click here for a list of members.