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Sgt. Ronald Crump was awarded $1.6M last year when a jury found the Los Angeles Police Department,
in violation of California law, allowed a hostile work environment for LGBT people. (Freedom to Work)
A big disappointment for the LGBT community in 2009-2010 was the failure to exploit Democratic majorities in both houses and a sympathetic President to finally deliver on the promise of the the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The long-languishing legislation would have prohibited, under federal law, employment discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Some states offer some such protections, but unfortunately in 29 states, it’s still perfectly legal to fire someone solely because they’re lesbian, gay, or bisexual; in 34 states, it is legal to fire someone solely for gender expression. It isn't anticipated Texas, Tennessee or Mississippi will be passing these bills soon; hence the need for federal intervention.

LGBT advocacy group GetEqual scrupulously documented the path the legislation has taken since 1974, and the timeline includes no fewer 58 data points from just the 111th Congress alone. These communiques to the LGBT community come directly from credible figures like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Sen. Tom Harkin; Reps. Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis; Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solomnese and others.

A sampling:

Rep. Barney Frank announces plans to introduce an inclusive ENDA and says he believes the “prospects for passing and inclusive ENDA has improved significantly” because “the transgendered [sic] community is lobbying hard.” —June 17, 2009
Rep. Tammy Baldwin says “as someone who has actually counted the votes, I believe that there are” votes in place and added “we want the votes as soon as possible."
—March 18, 2010
Rep. Jared Polis says “we have the votes to pass ENDA in the house and we hope to bring it before the committee I serve on within the month—by the end of April” and added that “once it passes the committee, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks-a week or two-to schedule it to the floor. —March 30, 2010
[Then] Speaker Nancy Pelosi says “The committee of jurisdiction, the Education & Labor Committee is working very hard to have the strongest possible bill and vote when we come to the floor. I believe that it will be soon, and as soon as they are ready, Leader Hoyer and I agreed that it will come to the floor. So, I think it will be pretty soon.”
—April 15, 2010

So what happened? No one who knows is talking.

In February 2011, Kerry Eleveld wrote at Equality Matters about the mystery of what happened in the 111th Congress:

Second, although I have asked a good number of questions about ENDA and its prospects for a vote, I still can't tell you why it never happened. Meanwhile, I can recall with decent clarity nearly every twist and turn of the battle to pass "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) repeal. This is not due to a bias on my part, but is rather indicative of the fact that no one seemed willing to talk with any specificity about what was or wasn't happening with ENDA.
Ms. Eleveld was the White House correspondent for The Advocate for most of President Obama's first two years, and as such, was well positioned to know what was really going on.

Well, that was then, this is now. Aside from pointing fingers and assessing blame, it is important to hope for a clearer answer on what went wrong. Assurances the votes were there and the passage was imminent give advocates little clue as to what actually derailed it and what could be better addressed in the next battle.

And there will be another battle, despite the rise of House Speaker John Boehner means, for all but the most starry-eyed of optimists, that federal legislative remedies are off the table for now.

Still, it's defeatist to think the fate of an entire movement rests in the hands of one man. There is more than one way to skin a cat, as they say (apologies to PETA).

This is Part 1 of a two-part series on the movement that Speaker Boehner can't kill.

Taking it to the courts

The issue of employment discrimination is a difficult one to litigate in general. There is so much gray area. Marginalized minorities may find themselves having to meet impossibly high standard precisely because they are disliked. While another employee enjoys the kindness of say, coming in late to drop a child off at school, another less favored employee may find him or herself written up for same minor tardiness violation, regardless if it can be shown to have effected work performance.

Vandy Beth Glenn

Vandy Beth Glenn testifies before Congress
in support of ENDA, Sept. 2009.
And of course, there is the fact that there exists no right to not be fired for being LGBT in most of the U.S. This is a problem advocacy groups are addressing with some interesting application of existing law. There is the recent landmark case of Vandiver Elizabeth Glenn. Glenn was fired from her state job in Georgia for being transgender. Lacking an avenue for redress under state law, her counsel sought justice in federal court, arguing the dismissal violated the Equal Protection Clause of the constitution. And the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit agreed. Citing City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Ctr., Inc., which found "the Equal Protection Clause requires the State to treat all persons similarly situated alike or, conversely, to avoid all classifications that are 'arbitrary or irrational' and those that reflect 'a bare ... desire to harm a politically unpopular group.'" The 11th circuit concluded:
The question here is whether discriminating against someone on the basis of his or her gender non-conformity constitutes sex-based discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause. For the reasons discussed below, we hold that it does.

An individual cannot be punished because of his or her perceived gender non-conformity. Because these protections are afforded to everyone, they cannot be denied to a transgender individual. The nature of the discrimination is the same; it may differ in degree but not in kind, and discrimination on this basis is a form of sex-based discrimination that is subject to heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause. Ever since the Supreme Court began to apply heightened scrutiny to sex-based classifications, its consistent purpose has been to eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender stereotypes.
An interesting and fairly obvious legal theory is that if one cannot suffer discrimination for being a man or a woman, one cannot suffer discrimination for failing to meet someone's subjective standards of what constitutes either.

Shari Hutchinson

Shari Hutchinson (Freedom to Work)
Another vastly under-noticed landmark case was made very recently in another unlikely locale, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. From Freedom To Work's press release:
Shari Hutchinson was hired in 2003 as a Support Officer in the Child Support Enforcement Agency for Cuyahoga County, Ohio. She holds an Executive Masters of Business Administration degree and she had almost twenty years of private sector management experience prior to working for the Agency and was eager to move up the career ladder. However, after her co-workers and managers learned that Shari is lesbian, they spread false rumors about her and repeatedly passed her over for promotions that went to significantly less qualified applicants, including heterosexual candidates who did not even pass the required tests or comply with the Agency’s application procedures. Therefore, Shari filed a federal lawsuit contending that Cuyahoga County’s discrimination violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Neither Ohio law nor federal law bans workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
False rumors circulated she was the author of lesbian pornography and sympathetic co-workers explained to her they would be distancing themselves from her at the office because they feared being affiliated with Hutchinson would impede their careers.

Hutchinson alleged she was passed over no less than 25 times for promotions, often times by far less qualified candidates. From court documents:

Plaintiff's test was translated to a score of 81.5 of 100, the second highest score of all the candidates after the third posting ... Wendy Fein and Shawntaye McCurdy, two ostensibly straight candidates, were awarded the Budget Management Analyst positions. Shockingly, McCurdy failed the test, receiving a 49 of 100. Even worse, defendants’ 30(b)(6) designee for this position could not explain why McCurdy was permitted to even interview, much less obtain the position, with a failing score.
With the assistance of Freedom To Work, Hutchinson sued alleging her guarantee of Equal Protection under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution had been violated.

Attorneys for the county argued "Hutchinson’s claims must fail because sexual orientation is not a protected class, and thus does not merit the constitutional protection, under the Equal Protection Clause." Judge James S. Gwin of the US Northern District Court of Ohio disagreed, denying the County's motion to dismiss, he said (pdf):

...the Court concludes that an employee who alleges sexual orientation discrimination under § 1983 is not per se precluded from establishing an equal protection claim against her employer. Simply because Title VII does not include sexual orientation as a statutorily protected class does not, in this Court’s view, automatically remove all constitutional protection where a plaintiff employee claims equal protection violations based on her membership in that class....

Though sexual orientation may not be a suspect or quasi-suspect class, the Court finds that constitutional disparate treatment claims alleging sexual orientation discrimination by a public employer at least garner the bare minimum of rational basis review.

On the eve of the trial the county and Hutchinson reached a settlement agreement, with Hutchinson receiving $100,000 relief.

While the judge's finding is not binding precedent, it stands as a judgement other cases around the country may cite as persuasive. It is a landmark foot in the door.

When people tell their stories, I'm often surprised and saddened by the amount of abuse that they will endure before they say, "No more."

Hutchinson said in the press conference she got passed over for promotions 25 times before she really believed it was being a lesbian that was holding her back. It's easy to understand that acknowledging, "Oh my God, this is all about discrimination," is the moment you acknowledge that too often the Horatio Alger myth is a myth. That sometimes no amount of hard work and good intentions can overcome simple bigotry and the wall that stands between you and the success of your dreams. Hutchinson explains her awakening:

“On my first day working for the County, I was given the Policies Manual and I was so thrilled to see that discrimination due to sexual orientation would not be tolerated. But after continuously losing promotions when I had scored the highest on the County’s qualifying exam, and watching the jobs go instead to people who had failed the tests or had not even completed the application, I learned there was a glass ceiling for a lesbian woman like me."

A local press report of the judgement:

Sgt. Ronald Crump

Sgt. Ronald Crump (Freedom to Work)
Sergeant Ronald Crump, an openly gay police officer, works for the Los Angeles Police Department. He had the misfortune of crossing paths with Lieutenant John Romero, who told Crump, "I was a religion major at Liberty University—Jerry Falwell would roll over in his grave if he knew I hired you." Romero made derogatory comments about other gay LAPD employees as well, calling one a "quirky, effeminate guy," and saying about another, "She’s a militant, 'Don’t Ask, Don't Tell' activist lesbian." Romero subjected Crump to nearly constant harassment, including introducing Crump to new co-workers as "the new Ruby [Crump’s female predecessor]—the only difference is that he doesn’t wear heels." When Crump told Romero that he did not appreciate being referred to as the "new Ruby," Romero told him to "get over it" and chuckled as he walked away.

Eventually, Sergeant Crump complained to Romero’s boss. When Romero found out about the complaint, he screamed at Crump and threatened him. Romero told Crump, "Don’t forget I hired you even though you’re gay."

After that, Romero increasingly began to treat Crump with hostility. Therefore, in April 2009, Crump formally complained about Romero to the LAPD. The retaliation only got worse from there—Romero first threatened to fire Crump, but instead transferred him to another division where he would have fewer opportunities to advance his career.

Crump sued the LAPD over this retaliatory transfer, and after a lengthy trial, a jury of his peers awarded him a $1.16 million verdict. After the trial concluded, many of the jurors thanked Sergeant Crump for creating accountability and "leading cops." Crump says of his experience:

It was a great dilemma to sue the organization I admire. But my management’s gross decisions adversely affected me and it needed to be challenged – not only for me but all the employees that have been affected similarly. Despite this incident, I still find it a great honor to be LAPD and a contribution to society. I had to trust the justice system and my faith in my actions and failure to waiver in my decisions proved well for equal employment opportunities.

James Friso

Not a judicial remedy, but an interesting application of already existing federal law is the case of James Friso, a heterosexual military contract employee, which broke on Thursday. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission intervened in his case where he alleged he was the victim of homophobic harassment and a hostile work environment. The Commission successfully forced a settlement by arguing Friso was the victim of sex discrimination, because he did not meet what his co-worker considered a gender-appropriate standard. The military contractor Dyncorp International settled for $155,000 and promised better training of its employees.

Of course, Crump's victory was made possible only by California's pre-existing non-discrimination state law. And though Hutchinson and Glenn found their relief in federal court, it's important to recognize the legal precedent is more limited than a first glance might suggest. In both these cases, constitutional protections were able to be argued because they were employees of a state, and the judiciary enjoys rather more leeway in directing agents of the state in what their constitutional duty in conduct is. The precedent they set in their wins does not necessarily extend to private sector employment.

Generating press

Still, victories are victories and such stories make headlines and prompt a public conversation on what is and is not acceptable behavior. Regardless of in-the-weeds concerns about applicable precedent, the broad stroke the casual American hears when these decisions are handed down is, "This was wrong," as viewed through the prism of law and equal protection. And they remind people this is a real problem that has real world consequences for people. A dismaying statistic was released last year that showed that 48 percent of college-educated LGBT people pretended to be straight at work. One can only imagine that statistic is higher for those without a college education. That so many LGBT professionals are closeted speaks to the fear that discrimination is real, omnipresent and unchallengeable.

Within days of the Hutchinson judgement, the Ohio Plain Dealer was moved to print an editorial calling on the state to "broaden Ohio's employment anti-discrimination law to include sexual orientation and gender identity."

Hutchinson's experience ought to persuade the Ohio House to take a full and fair look at a bipartisan measure that would make it illegal in Ohio to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Rep. Nickie Antonio, a Lakewood Democrat, and Ross McGregor, a Springfield Republican, introduced their bill Sept. 27. Two years ago, in a 56-39 vote, the House passed a similar bill, co-sponsored by McGregor and then-Rep. Dan Stewart, a Columbus Democrat. The Senate failed to act, so the bill died when the 128th General Assembly went home last December.

Ohio already bans discrimination -- in jobs, housing or public accommodation -- based on age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or military status. Antonio and McGregor's House Bill 335 would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list.

The Dealer included this nugget:
This is hardly a radical concept. Polls show that Americans overwhelmingly believe that gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people should not face discrimination at work. The idea seems so obvious that large majorities of Americans assume it already is the law -- even in states such as Ohio, where it's not.
A respectable publication like the Plain Dealer reality-checking that gay rights are "hardly a radical concept" can only help.

As can the elevating the public profile of people like Glenn, Hutchinson and Crump.

One fairly common theme that has resonated throughout the "what happened with ENDA?" post-mortem is the recognition there is no face of ENDA. If one sees a person speaking of ENDA in the media, chances are very good it's Joe Solomnese, outgoing president of the Human Rights Campaign. Perennial DC-insider Solomnese with his Brooks Brothers suits, Gucci loafers and insider-worthy $318,475 salary makes, shall we say, an imperfect spokesperson to speak on behalf of the social workers, policemen and state and blue-collar workers who experience this discrimination daily. But who is there?

The face of LGBT
employment discrimination.
In the wake of DADT repeal and ENDA's failure, DADT activist and former Marine Capt. Tom Carpenter provided his own insight into what went wrong writing on LGBT POV he said in "The Path Ahead – We Need a Roadmap:"
How did repeal of DADT pass? First, like the Hate Crimes bill, there was a human face put to the terrible price of DADT. The faces of repeal of DADT were: Mike Almy, Alistair Gamble, Blue Copas, Darren Manzella, Monica Hill, Stacey Velasquez, Victor Ferhenbach, Joseph Rocha, Dan Choi, Alex Nicholson, Jonathan Hopkins, Katy Miller, Jules Sohn, Justin Elzie, Grette Cammermeyer, Joe Steffen, Tracy Thorn, Keith Mienhold, Rich Richardson, Rich Watson, Margaret Witt, Steve May, Zoe Dunning, Eric Alva, Jenny Kopfstein, Anthony Loverde, Stephen Vosslerand many others.

Where are the faces for ENDA? ENDA – a jobs bill – has languished because there has not been a sufficient education of the public and Congress about how terrible the lack of non-discrimination in employment is to our community.

The case for ENDA has not yet been personalized. We have no poster person. Other than GetEQUAL disrupting a congressional hearing – where is the direct action to publicize the harms of LGBT job discrimination? Where is the press? Where are the educational grassroots efforts such as the DADT repeal “Call to Duty?”

And he's right. There is no widely recognized face of LGBT employment discrimination. The fight for ENDA has been marked by constant recitation of statistics, numbers of victims, polling support for legislative remedies, pie charts, graphs and maps.

White states offer no LGBT employment protection (HCR)
The advocacy community has been terrific at assembling the data, but what faces are being put out there? It's people that move bills, not numbers and statistics.

Consider these names: Lilly Ledbetter, Ryan White, Matthew Shepard, James Byrd, Jim Brady, Meghan Kanka, Amber Hagerman, James Zadroga of the 9/11 first responders.

You can say the name and many Americans know the gist of the law they inspired, and the injustice or problem it was intended to correct. This is testament to public education campaigns that have gone very right and successfully delivered the popular support to make voting yes a tenable if not desirable position.

Daily Show
Real people with real problems that politicians can help solve:
The 9/11 first responders visit with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.
The good news is Freedom to Work is addressing that very issue, having just formed a speaker's bureau that includes Hutchinson and Crump. A transgender speaker has also joined, but concerns regarding pending litigation have delayed the public announcement. Facilitating and training advocates who can go out and speak to the public and the media on their first-person experiences is a excellent use of this forced regrouping time while the LGBT community awaits the return of Speaker Pelosi.

There is still a very major victory that Speaker Boehner would be powerless to block, and it would simply require President Obama to be the fifth president to amend Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 11246, this time to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Advocates have been pushing for this since transition and such a move may be closer than many imagine. More on that next week.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 01:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women, Angry Gays, and TransAction.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Scott, the HRC map of states reflecting (10+ / 0-)

    laws per state -- I pulled it up on the HRC web page but the pdf vibe splatters on my system and I can't see the map key.

    The dark green states are...  versus the lighter green ?  

    - - -

    We need Pelosi back in the role Boehner has now so that this can move forward more quickly and with surer feet.  

    "Pretty soon" is pretty good.  But "long overdue" is true, too.


  •  Discrimination is wrong and counterproductive. (0+ / 0-)

    Let not forget that at least several American Presidents have had, shall we say, unclear sexual orientation?

    James Buchanan was a "lifelong bachelor" and, while not generally ranked in the top five, was a successful President.

    Abe Lincoln, who is generally ranked in the top two or three, slept in the same room with his man friend while his wife slept elsewhere.  Granted these were different times, but the point is, and should be today, who cares about a persons private life?  Abe Lincoln was a great President regardless of what his sexuality (or lack of it) was.

    Only small minded fearful people discriminate on such superficial characteristics as skin color, gender or sexuality.

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 01:30:54 PM PST

  •  a key to the map (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    dark green - orientation and transgender
    light green - orientation only
    light green and asterisk -- executive order for PUBLIC employees to include transgender
    triangle -- domestic partnerships (or state will provide benefits for domestic partner)

    Not also that because of a 9th circuit court decision, LG domestic partners/married couples in community property states -- California, Nevada and Washington -- can file as married using a special worksheet (this means we get to start from scratch on the state return).

    Boy howdy, do we ever need ENDA!!

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 01:32:03 PM PST

  •  Personal stories (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, rserven, wyldraven

    have been many with the marriage equality fight and with the fight to end the bar against military service, but, you're right, I can't bring easily to mind the names/faces of real people who've faced anti-gay discrimination in the workplace. Gay teen suicides,  violence against transgender people, I can see faces in my mind's eye. Thanks for putting the spotlight on some of the human consequences of prejudice and hatred. It is important.

  •  ENDA (6+ / 0-)

    Is very important legislation. I'd like to see it passed yesterday.

    My forthcoming book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity will be published in Summer 2012 by Potomac Books.

    by Ian Reifowitz on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 01:33:01 PM PST

  •  I never have understood (0+ / 0-)

    those who basically support allowing employers to discriminate against people.

    But it all comes down to the misguided belief among many in society that being gay is a CHOICE.  That is what has to change.

    27, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-07 (originally), liberal-leaning independent

    by TDDVandy on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 01:43:13 PM PST

  •  But we DO know what happened to ENDA: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Pelosi made a promise to her caucus that they wouldn't be 'forced' to vote on two LGBT bills at the same time.  She explicitly kept ENDA off the schedule until the House was finished with DADT repeal; then when the House passed DADT, she wanted it to wait until DADT repeal went through the Senate; and we all remember what happened in the Senate re: DADT repeal.  Because it didn't pass until the very end of the session, ENDA was never brought up.   This isn't just anonymous aids, but directly from her.

    That whole year was a clusterfuck of crossed wires and intentions, so I don't want this to come off as if I'm villifying her leadership, but on this issue we know exactly what went 'wrong'.  Pelosi gets high marks for getting things done in the House during her tenure, and understandably so, but the decision not to schedule ENDA was entirely hers, even when she was warned that pushing it back would result in it never coming up at all.

    I don't know why the Democratic leadership isn't pulling a Republican tactic and adding ENDA as an amendment to any bill that deals with federal regulations.  Republicans drop poison pills all the time.  Why can't ENDA be a ... whatever the opposite of that is.  Health pill?

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 01:46:22 PM PST

    •  I can see where you say that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Although I think you are making a leap saying the wouldn't "force a vote on two bills at the same time," which isn't exactly what was said.

      But I do remember that incident. I don't know if I take it on it's face as the definitive word, when the votes were said to be there.

      •  Not sure I understand: (0+ / 0-)

        "One thing at a time" is how she explained her decision.  For whatever reason she determined that it was unwise to have both bills circulating at once, even after the House version passed.  The House certainly took up other legislation while waiting for the Senate to pass repeal, but Pelosi insisted throughout that ENDA would not come to the floor until the Senate acted on repeal.  

        If I'm stretching on anything, it's extrapolating from statements by other Democrats in the The Hill, that Pelosi promised to protect vulnerable House members from "controversial bills." Her ostensible reason on ENDA was that it'd have a better chance if DADT repeal passed first; but when the Senate stalled, and stalled, and stalled, there was really no reason the House couldn't have taken up ENDA in the meantime, something activists repeatedly asked for.   Pelosi decided not to, and kept pointing to the Senate and DADT.  So I don't think I'm stretching too much here.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 02:38:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And just to repeat: (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not trying to vilify her on this: even if it had passed the House, the path to a Senate vote was doubtful at best.   It's just confusing and frustrating that she insisted on something so arbitrary and unnecessary as a prerequisite to ENDA, and that's what doomed it.

          Turns out it was GetEQUAL who proved most prescient about this - and I was wrong, because at the time I criticized them for focusing on the wrong target.  They were arrested for the sit-ins in Pelosi's office over this very issue.  They were right.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 02:47:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh well, as I said in the diary (0+ / 0-)

          That was then, this is now.

          How do we get passed that?

          •  Well, I'm not sure how we get around (0+ / 0-)

            Boehner: if he's controlling the flow of legislation, it's going to be hard to enter ENDA as a stand-alone bill.  I don't know House rules well enough to know whether it's possible to attach it as a rider somewhere - it's big but not huge - but that'd be the best bet in the immediate future.

            In the meantime it might be easier to get it through the Senate first, which is boggling but true.  It has 41 cosponsors - not enough for the ol' filibuster - but at least Reid could bring it up in his capacity as Majority leader.  Then the House could be pressured to bring it up in some form?

            None of these are easy.  If we aim at the Senate first, it's been sitting in the HELP committee since April of last year (ugh).  Currently that committee is chaired by Harkin, who in 2010 was unwilling to take it up without prior passage by the House.

            Now, without the House moving on it first, it has to be Harkin for any progress to be made.  That's going to be my letter/phone call target in the next few months.

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 03:10:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  It would be nice to find out (3+ / 0-)

    just what went on behind the scenes.  If we happen to retake the House anytime in the next two election cycle, we should insist on immediate action on ENDA (and DOMA repeal), given how taking our time turned out on this last time.

  •  I have shocked several friends (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, bythesea, wyldraven

    when I told them that ENDA isn't already law.

  •  I want to know what went on with ENDA too. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, bythesea, psychodrew
  •  The Democrats sold us out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    70-80 percent of the public supports ENDA. Indeed, that support crosses racial and party lines.

    The reason why ENDA did not happen can be summed up with 3 names: (a) Barney Frank (in his role as apologist for the Democrats on gay rights issues) (b) President Obama  and (c) either Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid didn't want it (take your pick because that's only piece I am not sure about).  Finally, what also happened is weak support by HRC and the other Washington insider gay groups like it.

    Frank was too busy attacking gay activists who were successfully pressuring the President on DADT repeal to be bothered to work on  using that pressure build up on ENDA.  President Obama was too busy playing "Mr Center" although the center was clearly as with the Public Option way to the left of where he was. The Congress, as usual, was out to lunch waiting for his leadership.

    HRC from 2009 (where it sent out that absurd letter about waiting until 2016 to be happy with the president) until mid 2010 was mostly AWOL. it was only  after gay activists who pressured the President in the press that things shifted the dynamic in 2010 on DADT repeal. Remember early 2010, the President was trying to walk back his support of repeal and had, up until that point, stone walled on the issue, including with multiple "studies" that were pretty much the same type of studies that had been commissioned several times before. It was only the activists who like OWS reshaped the political landscape to pressure reform now rather than later.

    So, what's lesson? The lesson is that none of them will do anything unless they are pressured to do anything. that they are  less than useless otherwise. The reality is that activists can not be and do everything in terms of public pressure. They have as a general rule less resources. So, to require this kind of continued pressure where people are chaining themselves to the WH fence and boo'ing the President at events is not realististic either.

    So, I am not sure why you are so confused. This site as a general rule seems to be a propectual state of confusion when it comes to why the Democrats don't do something that's the right thing to do. the answer is simple: they don't want to do it. They are only ever to the left of the crazy GOP when there is a huge public outcry, which is not a realstic standard upon whith to expect progress.

  •  hi scotty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, psychodrew

    great work here.... glad to see you're on the front page, where you belong!



    Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. -Helen Keller

    by ridemybike on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 03:32:48 PM PST

  •  Scott, loved everything but the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge

    "skin a cat" meme. Really, we need to get away from that kind of thought translation altogether.

    Words matter. All. Words. Matter.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 05:14:29 PM PST

  •  I can not write much (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psychodrew, Scott Wooledge, wyldraven

    right now as my fine motor control is currently out of whack but it seems to me that one of our biggest problems with this (as with many) cases today is that so many people think anti lgbtq discrimination to be ridiculous as to find it to be unimaginable that it is legal.  

    We need to find a way to harness a campaign to work that snd treat it as real, serious AND ridiculous.

    "The first rule of pillow fight club is do not talk about pillow fight club." --Keith Olbermann

    by Julie Waters on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 06:17:36 PM PST

  •  "48 percent of college-educated LGBT people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge

    pretended to be straight at work."

    And from what I gather from the article, this statistic relates only to the LBG of LGBT. I would guess the percentage of "T" who are not out is likely much higher. You can certainly count me in that number.

    •  Sorry, I should have looked closer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      my bad. Yeah, I imagine it's hard to measure that.

      Also, many Ts, that I can see, anecdotally in NYC, work in environments where it isn't necessary they "pass." The T population that can't pass probably experiences very serious impediments to actually entering other work environments.

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