CommunityPam's House Blend

Tammy Baldwin to introduce amendment to restore gender identity to ENDA

Go girl! Via National Stonewall Democrats e-press release (sorry, no link and have not seen any other releases or news items on this):

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) announced today that she has secured an agreement from the Democratic leadership to introduce an amendment to H.R. 3685 that would restore gender identity protections to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The amendment would be considered on the House floor next week, after the bill moves through the House Education and Labor Committee this Thursday. After her announcement, the United ENDA coalition released the following statement:

    Two weeks ago, our community was told that gender identity would not be included in any version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Congressional Leadership expected our community to acquiesce. However, United ENDA effectively communicated the strong opposition of hundreds of organizations and millions of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to leadership's efforts to advance a stripped down version of the bill.

    It is because of our unprecedented efforts that new options, such as the proposed amendment by Congresswoman Baldwin, are able to come before Congress. Members of Congress responded to the successful strategy of our coalition and many expressed their strong desire to vote for an inclusive bill that protects all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

    Clearly, our preferred strategy is to pass the original ENDA (H.R. 2015) out of committee. However, if we are faced with a non-inclusive bill following the committee vote, we will work with Congresswoman Baldwin to repair ENDA to include protections on the basis of gender identity. We appreciate that Congressional leaders like Congresswoman Baldwin continue to share our commitment to pass an inclusive bill, and we expect Speaker Pelosi and the House leadership will actively support the Baldwin amendment.

In other news, it appears Congressman Barney Frank sent out a memo commenting the ongoing ENDA deliberations on the Hill. It's after the jump.

Via Boston Edge, Barney Frank:

 “After a meeting with the Democratic members of the House Education and Labor committee, someone asked me to reflect on what would have been the case if people had been asked to vote against the civil rights bill in 1964 because it excluded gays and lesbians. In fact, that was so far back in American social history that people weren’t really thinking about gay and lesbian people at the time. But it is true that even after sexual orientation became an issue, we have been passing civil rights acts prohibiting discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, and ethnicity without including gay men or lesbians.

And in fact that question reminds me that there is a very specific prior example where many of us – including gay and lesbian people – specifically agreed to exclude us from an equality measure. The measure is the Equal Rights Amendment. There were efforts in the seventies – by that time of course gay and lesbian issues had come to the forefront – to explicitly include in equal rights amendments language that protected people against discrimination based on sexual orientation. That is, the amendments – federal and various state versions – prohibited discrimination based on sex, and people sought to add sexual orientation. I and others opposed that because we knew at the time that it would defeat the Equal Rights Amendment.

That is, as a gay man, along with virtually all of the gay and lesbian groups, I opposed inclusion of explicit protection for gay and lesbian people in equal rights amendments because it would have jeopardized the passage of the amendment. Of course at the federal level the amendment was never ratified, but it was ratified in Massachusetts and in several other places, and the relevant point is that it was ratified to protect women against discrimination based on their gender with the explicit approval of gays and lesbians that we be left out, because we thought that protecting people against a very significant form of discrimination was worth doing, even though it didn’t protect everybody.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding