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Sen. Kay Hagan to Transgender People: I Will Have To “Carefully Consider” Your “Impacts”

Senator Kay Hagan has been sending out letters to constituents who inquire about ENDA, and they suggest she's not at this point in favor of a bill that includes “gender identity.”

I'm feeling very 2007.  

Here's what she said:

“I would have voted for the employment non-discrimination measure passed by the House of Representatives in 2008. I am committed to carefully considering all options and the potential impacts of implementing new laws or regulations…”

What is she saying here: yes, I would have voted for it then and I will vote for it now; or yes, I would have voted for it then but I am not sure about it now?  I called her office, which confirmed that she is undecided about the current bill.  What is it Senator Hagan needs to “consider?” Please call and ask her, because her press secretary insisted she wasn't against gender identity protection. I've also had others from North Carolina assure me that Senator Hagan is not against gender identity protection.  In fact, she even sponsored an inclusive ENDA-type bill in the North Carolina legislature. But what's with these letters? And why won't the press guy get back to me?

Dear Readers, please call Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina and ask nicely for her support on S1584.  Contact info and more after the jump.

I spoke to him last Friday, and he said he would get back to me with a clarifying statement before my Wednesday deadline on that question.  I held off posting this an extra day to give him extra time to figure this out, because I want Senator Hagan to do the right thing, and not alienate potential allies. But he still hasn't gotten back to me.

Logically, if she would have voted for the sexual-orientation only ENDA, and now has to “consider,” and the only thing that's changed is “gender identity,” then it sounds as if gender identity is a problem for her.  Am I misinterpreting this?

Look, Senator, we need 60 votes to pass this over a filibuster.  There are 49 confirmed yes votes. There are another 7 likely to be in favor of this bill.  Then another 4 will still be needed.  You know that the leadership isn't going to bring this to a vote without 60 yes votes.  We can't afford the coy dance this time around.  

Senator, if you have questions about gender identity inclusion in ENDA, here, in a nutshell, are the possible questions and answers about gender identity inclusion.  

Q: Is the definition of gender identity in ENDA ambiguous?  A: No, it's clearly defined as in many other such bills.  In fact, it's defined more clearly than in the North Carolina bill.
Q: Should transgender people be able to have jobs if it makes employers or co-workers uncomfortable?  A: Yes, they should, and this argument demonstrates the need for such a law.
Q: Is there really enough transgender discrimination to require a law?: A: See previous question, and see studies on the issue.   
Q: What about the argument that businesses will lose sales because of transgender employees? A: The “business necessity” objection is a pretext, not a real objection.
Q: Will ENDA require employers to build new bathrooms and dressing rooms? A: No, it will not.
Q: Will ENDA allow sexual predators into women's bathrooms? A: No, it won't.

Click  here and here for more detailed  answers to these questions.

Meanwhile, dear Readers, please call Senator Hagan and ask nicely for her support on S1584, including both sexual orientation and gender identity.  I hope we will hear something from her soon.

DC Phone: 202-224-6342
Greensboro  336-333-5311
Raleigh  919-856-4630
(Click here for email)


Here, read for yourself what Senator Hagan said, particularly the portion I have put in bold.  Tell me, am I imagining things?  Am I overreacting?  Am I foolishly alienating a potential yes vote?  Or am I right to point out that she's suggesting a problem with gender identity inclusion?

Given what happened in 2007, I don't think I am imagining things, or overreacting. If I'm wrong, I'm sure Senator Hagan will be more than happy to correct my misunderstanding and I will be more than happy to apologize. Here's the letter. If you think I'm right, please call Senator Kay Hagan and ask her to support the inclusive ENDA, S.1584.

Dear Friend,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009. I greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important issue.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 1584), or “ENDA,” was introduced in the Senate on August 5, 2009, and referred to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, on which I sit. The legislation was also introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year, but neither bill has been voted on yet. Similar
proposals have been introduced dating back to 1975, though none have
had enough support to pass both bodies of Congress.

ENDA seeks to prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, and would allow individuals to file claims against an employer who discriminates based on these factors. For employers, employment
discrimination would include refusing to hire an individual, terminating an individual's employment, or adversely affecting an employee's status based on that person's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, it would prohibit discrimination in employment agencies, labor unions, or training programs. The bill would exempt religious organizations and the United States Armed Forces from these provisions. ENDA also includes several clarifications regarding its implementation. For instance, it would not prevent employers from enforcing policies that do not intentionally violate the bill as long as the policies are applied uniformly. The bill also would not infringe on an employer's ability to take action against an employee who is charged with sexual harassment. Further, under the bill, employers would not be required to build new facilities, nor would they be prohibited from enforcing a dress code.

I oppose discrimination in the workplace, and I support looking for ways to eliminate these unfair practices. Additionally, I supported legislation to address employment discrimination during my time in the North Carolina Senate, and I would have voted for the employment non-discrimination measure passed by the House of Representatives in 2008. I am committed to carefully considering all options and the
potential impacts of implementing new laws or regulations,
and I will be sure to take your concerns about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act into account as I review this legislation.

Again, thank you for contacting my office. It is truly an honor to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate, and I hope you will not hesitate to contact me in the future should you have any further questions or concerns.


Senator Kay Hagan

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