Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ENDA Will Not be Introduced Today

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has announced that he will hold off on re-introducing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to the House until the bill has more cosponsors.  Frank was previously going to introduce ENDA with Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) today.

The text of the bill is exactly as the same as it was as introduced to the 111th Congress: it would bar discrimination in employment (both public and private sector, with some exceptions) based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Currently, 29 states allow workplace discrimination against gay people, and 38 allow discrimination against transgender people.

It is unlikely, due to Republican control of the House, that ENDA will pass in this Congress.  Frank confirms that "there are not 218 members at this point ready to support it. We have an overwhelming number of Democrats, but not all, and a number of Republicans.”


Still, Frank adds that the re-introduction of ENDA presents the LGBT community with "a chance to continue — not begin, but continue — a lobbying effort that I am convinced will be successful, frankly, next time the Democrats take back the House of Representatives."

Given that the re-introduction of the bill is solely a lobbying tactic, I am not really sure what the point of delaying any further is; after all, many LGBT groups were caught completely off-guard by the sudden change, and had released statements praising Frank before they'd discovered ENDA wouldn't be introduced today.  I say, let's introduce the bill and, once it is introduced, work on lobbying our members of Congress - Democrat and Republican - to support the bill, so that the next time Democrats control the House, the pathway to passing the bill will be all the easier.

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