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Employment Non-Discrimination Act

 

Congressman Jared Polis Files ENDA Discharge Petition

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Colorado Representative Jared PolisThe openly gay House member from Colorado is filing a discharge petition to force a House vote on the Employment Non Discrimination Act.

Towleroad.com reports:

Out Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) announced today that he has filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Polis is the chief sponsor of ENDA and is also the co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. From Rep. Polis’ statement: A discharge petition is a procedure to force a vote on legislation if it receives signatures from the majority of the House of Representatives. This move comes after the House Republican leadership has continued to refuse to hold a vote on this bipartisan bill. “This is common sense legislation that is supported by a majority of Americans and was passed overwhelmingly by the United States Senate,” said Rep. Polis. “The Republicans have been dragging their feet on this bill for too long, allowing workplace discrimination against hardworking LGBT Americans to continue.

This new version of ENDA would include a narrower religious exemption.

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National LGBT Groups Drop ENDA Support

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

New Human Rights Campaign President Ready to Wade Into More Marriage Equality FightsIt started yesterday with an announcement from NGLTF.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Six of the nation’s leading LGBT rights advocacy groups on Tuesday announced they were withdrawing their support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), fearing that broad religious exemptions included in the current bill could compel private companies to cite objections similar to those that prevailed in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week.

The withdrawal was first announced earlier Tuesday by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and by mid-afternoon the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the Transgender Law Center issued a joint statement that they would no longer support the current version of ENDA because it provides “religiously affiliated organizations … a blank check to engage in workplace discrimination against LGBT people.”

The issue has been simmering for awhile, but the Hobby Lobby decision last week brought it to a boil.

Towleroad.com reports from the NGLTF press release:

“The morning after the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, we all woke up in a changed and intensified landscape of broad religious exemptions being used as an excuse to discriminate. We are deeply concerned that ENDA’s broad exemption will be used as a similar license to discriminate across the country. We are concerned that these types of legal loopholes could negatively impact other issues affecting LGBT people and their families including marriage, access to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention and access to other reproductive health services. As one of the lead advocates on this bill for 20 years, we do not take this move lightly but we do take it unequivocally – we now oppose this version of ENDA because of its too-broad religious exemption. We cannot be complicit in writing such exemptions into federal law.”

The lone hold-out? HRC.

Pink News reports:

Despite the shift, the Human Rights Campaign – which tackled anti-gay discrimination – has maintained support for the bill. Human Rights Campaign Vice President Fred Sainz said yesterday: “HRC supports ENDA because it will provide essential workplace protections to millions of LGBT people.”

Is HRC hanging on because it has spent years and years failing to get this thing passed, and now fears seeing the whole thing go down in flames?

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62% of Americans Think It’s Illegal to Fire Someone for Being Gay

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Although you can still be fired in 29 states for being gay, a majority of Americans think the practice is already illegal.

LGBT Employment Poll

The Dish reports:

On what other subject is the public so grotesquely misinformed? And what does it say about the acumen of the Human Rights Campaign that its Number One legislative priority for the last 25 years (with 76 percent national support!) remains as out of sight as ever? Just keep sending them your checks, guys. In another quarter century, you might get something back for them.

It’s amazing that 76% support this, and we still can’t get it done. But then again, see immigration reform and gun control.

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President Obama Speaks at LGBT Fundraiser in New York City

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama spoke last night at an LGBT fundraiser in NYC, just days after promising an executive order on LGBT employment.

Towleroad.com reports:

President Obama spoke at a Democratic LGBT fundraiser last night at Gotham Hall to a rousing crowd, ticking off a list of the many items he has accomplished for the LGBT community, making note of the advance of marriage equality, the Harvey Milk stamp, the drafting of Michael Sam, and the recent HBO production of The Normal Heart, noting that the work against AIDS is not done. Finally, he noted his plans, reported this week, to sign an executive order protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors.

Where would we be at this point federally if we had President McCain and a conservatively-packed US Supreme Court? The fight’s not over, but we’ve come a long way in six years.

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President Obama Will Sign LGBT Employment Executive Order

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama will finally sign an executive order requiring that all companies who contract with the federal government must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Think Progress reports:

The order, expected to be finalized in the coming weeks, is an extension of orders previously issued by past presidents — most recently Johnson — similarly banning employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin among all contractors and subcontractors who do over $10,000 in business with the government in any one year. The protections will reach over one million LGBT workers across the country, making it the single largest expansion of LGBT workplace protections in our country’s history. There continue to be 29 states that offer no employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 32 with no protections based on gender identity, but many LGBT workers in those states will now have workplace protections for the first time ever.

A new HRC poll shows that 63% favor a law protecting the LGBT community in the workplace.

LGBT Weekly reports:

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) today released new public opinion research that conclusively demonstrates strong public support for federal non-discrimination workplace protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers. A national survey of 1,200 registered voters conducted June 6-10, 2014 by TargetPoint Consulting found that 63 percent of those surveyed favor a federal law that protects gay and transgender people from employment discrimination while only 25 percent oppose it. Enthusiasm for this is especially strong among supporters: 42 percent strongly favor it, while only 16 percent strongly oppose.

And Senator Orrin Hatch has the gall to ask the President to put conditions on his order, after helping to block the passage of ENDA for how many years?

The Washington Blade reports:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is calling for the executive order that President Obama is poised to sign barring LGBT discrimination among federal contractors to include a religious exemption along the lines of the pending Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Hatch made the comments via a statement to the Washington Blade in response to a request to comment on the directive, which the White House on Monday announced President Obama intends to sign. “While the specifics of this executive order are not yet clear, I believe it must include the same religious protections that are included in the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed the Senate,” Hatch said.

OMG, the balls it must take to stand up and say that with a straight face (pun intended).

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What Could Sink ENDA?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Love this new cartoon from The Washington Blade:

Sink ENDA

Is It Time to Pull the Plug on ENDA?

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Gay RightsToday, with thanks, we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the introduction of Bella Abzug’s extraordinary comprehensive gay civil rights bill to Congress, known as the Equality Act of 1974, and we call all who are silent, to speak out for the demise of its flawed inadequate substitute, The Employment Non Discrimination Act.

” 1974 – On May 14 U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug (D-N.Y.), in collaboration with the National Gay Task Force (Task Force), introduced the Equality Act of 1974, a federal bill to ban discrimination against lesbians, gay men, unmarried persons and women in employment, housing and public accommodations. ”

While we were not successful in passing the Congresswoman’s legislation, we have also not been successful in enacting any legislation in its stead. And to make matters worse with 40 years behind us, we have failed as an LGBT movement to even set the unified benchmark for a full equality civil rights bill for LGBTI people. Instead we have a multi-million dollar organization proclaiming entitlement to helm half baked Employment Discrimination legislation, so fraught with religious exemptions, that if it passes the House (it has passed the Senate) it will be the new DADT or DOMA for our next generation – via institutionalized discrimination. I am not sure the late Bella Abzug would have approved. In fact I am almost sure, she would have condemned it.

Authored By Melanie Nathan – See the Full Story at Gay USA

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Seriously?

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Seriously?Here’s the the latest in our ongoing series of some of the crazy things the anti-gay, anti-marriage equality folks are saying and doing around the world.

Nobody Gets Fired for Being Gay Anymore
That seems to be the contention of House Speaker John Boehner, who sees no need to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. How amazing (not) that the straight, white, conservative male doesn’t see any issue with employment discrimination. full story

We’ll Exorcise the Shit Out of Gay Marriage
Proving he’s open to new things, Springfield, Illinois Catholic Bishop has a plan to fight the new marriage equality law. He’s going to exorcise it. Does that require pink holy water? full story

Gays Lust After Babies
Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt thinks gays don’t love babies, they lust after them. What kind of sick mind thinks like this? full story

USA: Catholic Bishops Unlikely to Live and Let Live Anytime Soon

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Catholic ChurchThere’s no doubting that Pope Francis’s comments about gay people have sent ripples through the Church. After all, when the new CEO says that things should be different, it’s hard not to take notice. The pope’s more relaxed attitude doesn’t have any doctrinal impact, but that hasn’t stopped Catholic conservatives from going into full freak-out mode.

But there are plenty of reasons to believe that, no matter what the pope says, things won’t be changing all that much among the U.S. bishops for quite some time. Here are six signs that the hierarchy is sticking to its guns on LGBT issues.

The new president of the National Catholic Conference of Bishops compares marriage equality to abortion. The Conference elected its new leaders this week, and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville was chosen as president for the next three years. Kurtz has compared marriage equality to Roe v. Wade and has chaired the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage. This isn’t someone who is about to let go of his antipathy to all things LGBT in a hurry.

Authored By John Gallagher – See the Full Story at Queerty

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USA: A Few ENDA Updates

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

Washington DC LegislatureNow that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act has passed the US Senate, we have a few follow-ups for you.

First off, Mormons helped pass ENDA in the Senate.

The New York Times reports:

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who at 79 is one of the Senate’s longest-serving members, became the first Republican to signal he would reverse his opposition as the bill faced a crucial vote in committee. He voted against a similar bill the last time it came up in the Senate — 17 years ago — but changed his mind earlier this year after Gordon H. Smith, a fellow Mormon and former Republican senator, convinced him there was nothing in it that violated church doctrine. “The church does want to be helpful where we can be, without violating our own conscience,” Mr. Smith, a former bishop, said in an interview. And as the bill approached a vital vote earlier this week, Senator Dean Heller, the Nevada Republican who has taught Sunday school at his Mormon church, provided the crucial 60th vote to break a filibuster. In the end, all but two of the Senate’s seven Mormons voted yes.

This newfound support for LGBT rights pointedly does NOT extend to marriage equality.

Openly gay House representative Jared Polis believes the bill would pass the House, if Boehner would bring it to a vote.

The Washington Blade reports:

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who’s gay and co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, predicted during an interview with the Washington Blade Friday that ENDA would pass the House and said the next step for the bill is to pressure Republican leaders to bring it to the floor. He added that a number of undeclared Republicans have privately told him they’d vote “yes.” “The next step is, of course, to continue to apply pressure to the speaker and the majority leader to bring it to the floor, where I’m confident it has enough support to pass,” Polis said. “The best way to do that is to demonstrate it has that support and continuing to add co-sponsors, particularly more Republican co-sponsors to ENDA so that we can have a stronger case to make that we need to bring it before the House to the floor for a vote.”

President Obama is thinking along similar lines.

On Top Magazine reports:

“Today’s victory is a tribute to all those who fought for this progress ever since a similar bill was introduced after the Stonewall riots more than three decades ago.”
“Now it’s up to the House of Representatives,” the president added. “This bill has the overwhelming support of the American people, including a majority of Republican voters, as well as many corporations, small businesses and faith communities. They recognize that our country will be more just and more prosperous when we harness the God-given talents of every individual.”

What do you guys think about the current version of ENDA? On the one hand, it is transgender inclusive, and would offer protections not available before to LGBT workers. OTOH, its religious exemptions are overly broad, and could lead to problems down the road. Where do you stand?

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