Tuesday, May 13, 2014

QUEER QUOTE: Matt Foreman Opposes Federal LGBT Legislation, Says #ENDAisNOTEqual

Well, well, well! Expressing publicly thoughts which many LGBT activists (like myself) have had privately for years, Matt Foreman, former head of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and eminence rose of the LGBT movement has said that the current "federal gay rights bill," commonly known as ENDA (which passed the United States Senate for the first time in its 40-year history last year) is a waste of time.

To be precise he said this:
"It's pathetic that four decades have gone by without Congress extending basic civil rights protections to LGBT Americans. It's even more pathetic that what's left of Bella Abzug's comprehensive legislation is ENDA - a small-bore bill that is now riddled with giveaways to anti-gay forces, including a religious exemption big enough for an 18-wheeler to cruise through. It's time to pull the plug on this essentially lifeless corpse and demand full equality under the federal civil rights statutes."
ENDA is (and has been for at least a decade) the #1 priority of HRC, the nations largest LGBT political advocacy organization. But with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, no pro-LGBT legislation will be enacted in the near-future, since only a handful of House Republicans (well, 7) are publicly supportive of the measure. The hardest thing about banning anti-gay discrimination in federal law is that most Americans already think it is illegal (and think that it should be), which paradoxically reduces momentum for enacting such a policy into law.

I agree with Matt that ENDA should be replaced by a comprehensive civil rights bill that calls for an end to discrimination in public accommodations, employment, education and housing, basically amend the 1964 civil rights act and add "sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression" to the words where "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin" appear in the text.

However, it does seem like pushing for a more comprehensive measure will make enacting basic projections in the 23 states where you can currently be fired for being LGB even less likely to happen in the near term.

So, I disagree that ENDA should be withdrawn, I think it should be supported, IN ADDITION to a comprehensive bill.

What do you think?

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