ENDA is Up – Again

What to do about ENDA? The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is up for committee hearing next week – again. It will likely pass out of committee on July 10, as all the committee dems (12) are sponsors and even one Republican is on board. We’ve been here before folks. It’s a long, hard road to pass a bill – think, “There’s a bill up on Capitol Hill.”

ENDA, originally introduced in 2007 by Sen. Ted Kennedy, has never enjoyed significant congressional support, however. And nothing appears to be much different in that old house. So, the efficacy and life of ENDA seems still doomed to be stalled in the Senate chute.

Ironically, ENDA is viewed by some as more of a transgender bill, largely because trans women have represented the historical sticking point – think Barney Frank. Yet, the twist here, is that trans people represent a class that has at least some discrimination protection under law since the EEOC decided Macy v. Holder in May, 2012 (recognizing transgender discrimination as a type of gender discrimination under Title VII). Sadly, if you are gay, lesbian or bi, you can still be fired or denied housing and public accommodation merely because it is so in states that offer no state or local protection. If you are transgender and you are fired you at least have a federal remedy.

Yes, ENDA is about LGBT Equality!!! So, what can we do to get this law passed? Some have suggested re-branding:

Following up on that bit of news, Michelangelo Signorile quotes former Bilerico editor Michael Crawford talking his ideas on how to get ENDA actually passed: rebrand it. I couldn’t agree with him more. Ditching the name ENDA and expanding the scope of the legislation would give LGBT federal nondiscrimination legislation some nice forward momentum.
‘When we talk about it as discrimination, it’s about bad things that are happening vs. reframing in a more aspirational way, framing it as freedom to work,’ he explained. ‘Everyone wants to be able to work and take care of their families. Framing it as something the general public can understand and connect to.’…

~ Filed By Bil Browning, Bilerico, 7/03/2013.

Good idea! But, regardless of how the law is framed, now is the time for all people concerned about LGBT Equality to get behind it.

I have mentioned before that I am concerned about the post-marriage victory let down amongst our movement. Will it be, or will we seize upon the momentum we seem to have accumulated over the last few years and extend it beyond marriage equality? I hope it will be the latter for the sake of those who have lost or been denied employment or associated benefits. And I can think of several people I know right off the top of my head who have endured these struggles right here in Southwest Montana. I can only imagine what it is like in larger urban areas of the country.

So, here’ my pitch: Don’t let down! Don’t stop! All the same cliches about equality and justice not being so until they are so for all remain true and unfulfilled. Please do your part to help pass ENDA.

Pride Foundation: Volunteers Make An Impact In Big Sky Country

It’s my privilege to work with some amazing people on The Pride Foundation’s team in Montana. If any of you know me personally, you know that I really believe in this organization, am a monthly donor, and I offer what I can to make this work here.

I believe it’s our last best chance for equality in Montana.

Caitlin Copple, Montana’s Regional Organizer for The Pride Foundation, has written an article about the Leadership Action Team for the State of Montana- and we’re a pretty amazing group of people if I do say so myself.

Excerpt:

The Montana Leadership Action Team serves as Pride Foundation’s “boots on the ground” when it comes to raising money, visibility and developing local leaders across the state. Because Pride Foundation believes strongly that local people know best what is needed in their communities, all our funding decisions – from grants to scholarships to sponsorships – are made by volunteers across the state.

I am so grateful for the support, hard work, and thoughtful dedication of this team. In just nine months, they’ve helped host eight house parties, attended countless community events on Pride Foundation’s behalf, and will determine how we distribute $5,000 in sponsorship money this year. Their work is directly shaping a safer, more equal Montana and strengthening our community’s philanthropic prowess.

Read about everyone on the Action Team here. And while you’re at it- check out the rest of their website. And if you give to HRC or GLAAD or Lambda Legal or any national LGBT rights organization, I challenge you to match that donation to an organization that will keep that money right here in Montana- the Pride Foundation.

I do.

Equality Is A Jesus Value

Kathy Baldock does it again, explaining the Christian case for LGBT equality.

Check it out at Canyonwalker Connections.