Daily ENDA Update from Mara Keisling

We have been striving for daily updates to you, but I have had time to write them only about every day and a half or so. Please know that the reason for that is simply that we’ve been so incredibly busy working with legislators, members of our community and our growing coalition of allies that there haven’t been enough hours in the day. Keeping you informed is very important to us and so are the issues we face.

And now the work . . .

We are making significant progress with members of Congress. The coalition of lobbyists who are working on this bill have gotten so much positive response from targeted members of Congress. After a four day weekend, Congress came back to DC and worked on Tuesday and Wednesday and then recessed again so members could attend the funeral of Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis (R-VA) who passed away. Still those two days were incredibly productive in terms of getting members of Congress to talk with us about HR2015. It was productive not only because they were back in DC, but because they were back in DC after spending time in their districts, hearing from all of you out there who have mobilized brilliantly to get this important work done.

I had an incredibly touching day today, as is often the case when I have a PFLAG day. The PFLAG National convention started in DC today. I am speaking at the closing plenary session on Sunday, which I am very excited about. And I wore the lapel pin I received from the Seattle PFLAGers in Seattle this past May.

The fabulous rock star Cyndi Lauper spoke to a PFLAG press conference today and talked, among other things about the need for Transgender rights. That is remarkable. More remarkable though is that Peggy Gage was on Capitol Hill today lobbying to pass a fully-inclusive unified ENDA. I was fortunate enough to go with her and other PFLAG parents to meet with two members of Congress. That Peggy was there is extraordinary for two reasons. Peggy is a very proud PFLAG mom and that in itself makes it remarkable that she spent the day at the Capitol lobbying for a transgender-inclusive ENDA. More remarkable and utterly humbling though is that Peggy lobbied with me today even though her husband Judge Ed Gage passed away last Friday. Peggy still came to DC from Tallahassee to stand up for her lesbian daughter and for all of us because, she explained, there was important work to do and because her late husband would have wanted her to. We grieve her loss and are thankful and in awe that she found the strength to stand with us and demand justice in this very difficult week for her.

Every afternoon at 1PM, we have co-chaired a conference call for members of the United ENDA Coalition. Today our absolutely solid ally Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin joined us to give us her take on ENDA, assure us that we are making progress and exhort us to stay focused and see this through confidently and with moral purpose. We should be comforted to know that she is solidly on our side as we move ENDA forward this year and every year until it passes.

As many of you know, Congressman Barney Frank has made speeches and held a press conference in which he has expressed that he plans to move forward with the weakened, non-inclusive ENDA (H.R. 3685). While that is unfortunate, we continue to urge everyone, as Congresswoman Baldwin has, to keep our eyes on the prize and not be lured by distractions. NCTE continues to be entirely focused on moving the ball forward every possible inch.

Mara Keisling

One Response to Daily ENDA Update from Mara Keisling

  1. Jillian_E says:

    Thank you Mara for the update. It’s heartening to know that Tammy Baldwin is firmly in our corner on this issue. I don’t believe that Barney Frank will be very supportive of our inclusion going forward, no matter what he says now. But then, I’ve had no experience with the behind the scenes workings of the legislature. I do know that lots of campaign contributions and votes are what most politicians want most. I can’t help there much, but I’m doing what I can.Are there estimates of how many members there are in total in the groups that signed up for UnitedEnda. Each member is a vote and big numbers would be helpful in convincing those on the fence.

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