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Monday, October 22, 2007

ENDA Update

Aravosis's take on the White House Involvement in Negotiations on ENDA:

Three things we learn from Peter.

1. White House staffers were involved in negotiating ENDA's language. That's huge, if true. It means that the White House either isn't sure whether it will veto ENDA (or they think they may support it), and therefore they want the bill as "good" as possible for their side. Or it means that the White House isn't sure that they can stop ENDA - e.g., they fear that it may be added to some must-pass legislation that they'll be reluctant to veto, like an appropriations bill.

The White House simply doesn't negotiate the language of legislation that it doesn't think is going to pass or that it plans on killing.

2. The White House saying that they're going to wait and see what the final language of ENDA is before they decide on a veto - and telling this privately to religious right leaders - is also huge. This implies that there is some language, some version, of ENDA that might prove acceptable to the White House. And in any case, why wouldn't they hint to the religious right that they're going to veto ENDA - seems like a no-brainer - unless of course they're not sure they are.

3. The United ENDA coalition, which is advocating that we not pass ENDA until America, and Congress, are ready to vote for transgender (e.g., transsexuals, cross dressers, butch women, fey men) civil rights, has been claiming that ENDA without the transgender provisions is toothless. Well, it's interesting that the religious right doesn't seem to think so. They think that ENDA opens the floodgates for our civil rights.

Aravosis adds:

I wrote repeatedly about my inkling that ENDA could very well become law this year, in spite of the naysayers who said that Bush would definitely veto, that there was no way around his veto, and that I was either naive or a liar (in addition to being a racist, misogynist, native-American hater, bigot, rich, white, transphobe, homocentrist). Well, the religious right doesn't appear as unequivocal about that veto, and neither does the White House.

Then again, the United ENDA campaign run by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (the campaign that has called for ENDA to be killed unless it includes transgendered people, and if it includes transgendered people the bill is killed anyway since it doesn't appear to have the votes with them in) has publicly called for the gay, lesbian, bisexual (but not trans) version of ENDA, the one the full House will vote on later this week, to be killed, and they haven't rescinded that call - and as a result, numerous state coalition members of United ENDA are still calling for ENDA to be killed.

If United ENDA has its way, the religious right can stop worrying. Later this week, 25 million gays and lesbians may be derailed from getting their civil rights recognized by a house of Congress for the first time in US history. But the big question is who will be cheering louder if ENDA doesn't pass? Peter LaBarbera or United ENDA?

PS As an aside, I've just learned that there's at least one senior transgender leader in America who is married (and I'm sure other straight transgendered people are married). That's nice, and I support their right to marry. But I do find it odd that the gay community is being asked (well, told) to put our employment rights on hold until the transgender community can get theirs, but the transgender community isn't putting its marriage rights on hold until we get ours. Then again, I'd never ask them to put their rights on hold until I got mine.