I was actually on the Hill from about 8:30 AM until about 8PM today. So much happened, and frankly so much more needs to happen yet tonight, that I can’t write long enough to do this justice. Here is the short version of what happened followed by a joint statement from the United ENDA coalition.
This morning we were (and still are) working closely with members of the Education and Labor Committee to get action on the inclusive bill (H.R. 2015) rather than the non-inclusive bill (H.R. 3685). Some of us (NCTE and other United ENDA organizations) were doing Congressional visits, some were working the phones, some were in our offices holding it all together. If you have ever worked on a political campaign, you will know what I am talking about-a lot of people, a lot of activity, and usually enough glue holding it together.
I know I have spent much time in these updates talking about how everyone was being heard in DC, so I hesitate to keep doing it, but by gosh, it is really really true. It is not an overstatement to say that Congressional offices are now shocked by how much they are hearing from us all. Keep it up.
I had a great meeting today with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) and they have been and continue to be incredibly helpful at moving forward our important civil rights cause.
One of the many things that I personally have not been able to do sufficiently over the past few days is thank everyone who is doing so much. So many individuals and organizations-state LGBT organizations, transgender support groups, HIV/AIDS groups, LGBT community centers, local Stonewall Democrats chapters, members of Congress, academics, and so many others. I will be forever thankful.
Okay, so late in the day, Congresswoman Baldwin-someone who really deserves everyone’s admiration for everything she has done-saw another opportunity to fix the bill if it passes out of committee on Thursday. She has secured an agreement from leadership to introduce an amendment on the House floor to add gender identity back into a non-inclusive bill. Obviously, if the bill leaves committee on Thursday without gender identity, we will enthusiastically be supporting the Baldwin Amendment-which by the way, may have a second member’s name on it in the morning.
So now, we are all back in the office making phone calls, writing releases and alerts and planning our Hill visits for the morning.
By the way, like so many other organizations, NCTE has been focusing all of our efforts on getting the job done and sometimes not even saying that we are involved in things. An amazing aspect of this United ENDA coalition is how utterly unselfish everyone has been. Not once have I heard any complaints about not getting mentioned or quoted or anything. People have really taken a one-for-all attitude and that has been amazing. But rest assured, NCTE is here, working full bore and getting a lot done-with a lot of help from a lot of friends.