Looking Ahead to ENDA in the Senate

We have heard concerns from members of our community about the election of Scott Brown to the United States Senate and the impact on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

ENDA certainly can still be passed by the Senate and it remains a bipartisan bill. It currently has two Republican co-sponsors in the Senate, Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both from Maine. There are a several other Republican Senators who have indicated their potential support and could, with continued constituent action and education, join in sponsoring or voting for ENDA.

ENDA’s passage depends on the actions we each take, as do all of our efforts to pass legislation designed to protect LGBT people. Every vote in the Senate counted before Tuesday’s election and every vote continues to count today. Every constituent call, letter and visit has the potential to impact the very votes we need to pass this bill. We continue to work vigorously for the passage of ENDA and for full equality for LGBT people.

These protections are long overdue. ENDA simply makes into law what the majority of Americans firmly believe—that people should be judged in the workplace for their skills and experience, not on their sexual orientation and gender identity. At a time when the economy continues to struggle, we cannot afford to lose jobs because of an employer’s personal prejudice.

ENDA’s passage is certainly possible this year, even with the results from last night’s election. We urge everyone in the community to continue to work hard for the passage of this critical bill.

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2 Responses to Looking Ahead to ENDA in the Senate

  1. Tamara Jeanne says:

    While I still believe that there is still a reasonable chance for ENDA being passed this year, I am very concerned that transgender inclusion may ether be watered down or once again dropped completely. Barney Frank’s comments last week about the bathroom issue are one indication of this. Another indication is the number of Senators and Representatives hinting at having reservations and concerns about trans-inclusion in ENDA. My own state’s representative, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin(D-SD)is one such example. She voted for the non-inclusive version of ENDA in 2007, but so far she has repeatedly stated that she has reservations and concerns about transgender inclusion in the current version. She has, however left the door open and has expressed a willingness to learn more about transgender issues.

    To that end, I have been working for the past 3 months with the ACLU-SD and Equality South Dakota to help educate her and her staff on transgender issues for the past 3 months. Some of the activities that I have been doing are: running a grassroots letter writing campaign, getting together a panel of professionals, experts, allies and trans-people to take part in a conference call with her staff, researching and compiling studies, articles and information that refutes all of the arguments being used who oppose transgender inclusion in ENDA.

    There is still much work that needs to be done. I urge everyone who reads this to call, email or write Representative Herseth-Sandlin and to their own states senators and representatives to vote for a trans-inclusive ENDA.

    Representative Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin – 202-225-2801
    331 Cannon House Office Building
    United States House of Representatives
    Washington, DC 20515

    http://hersethsandlin.house.gov/

  2. Rebecca Juro says:

    History teaches us that when Barney Frank starts backpedaling toward the bathroom it’s never a good sign. We need to turn up the heat on these people, and quickly.

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