Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Trans-inclusive ENDA introduced in 110th Congress

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (a.k.a. "the federal gay rights bill" or ENDA) was introduced into the 110th Congress with 4 bipartisan authors, openly gay Democrats Tammy Baldwin (WI-12) and Barney Frank (MA-4) and Republicans Deborah Pryce (OH-15) and Christopher Shays (CT-4) on Tuesday afternoon. It has been repeatedly introduced in Congress since 1974 and only once received a vote, in the senate, where it failed on a 49-50 vote (during the debate on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act!

Interestingly, although the bill would prohibit discrimination nationwide in employment (or employment decisions) on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity there has not been much complaint by the naysayers who for years said that a "trans-inclusive" bill had no chance of passing Congress. This may have something to do with the fact that there are more gay rights laws in the "several states" that are "gender identity of expression" inclusive than not (The Task Force lists 10 trans-inclusive to 8 non), and all the ones enacted in recent years (except for New York's bizarre 2002 law) have been trans-inclusive. I presume with Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer making noises about introducing a marriage equality bill that getting a trans-inclusive bill through the legislature to his desk for his willing signature should be a snap--or a compromise position?

With Democrats controlling Congress in the majority can we actually see ENDA pass one chamber of Congress this year?

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