Monday, October 01, 2007

ENDA for, now, keeps protections for trans-gender on the table for discussion


There have been numerous emails today to the effect that Nancy Pelosi was considering dropping protections for trans-gendered individuals in a bill that could be sent to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote. However, a story this evening says that she has postponed such action, and that a discussion on the broadest practical Employment Non-Discrimination Act will continue. The "Advocate News" story is here.

ENDA was advanced in 1993, sometime after President Clinton opened discussions on lifting the military gay ban, resulting in the "don't ask don't tell" policy. In this regard, I recall that Scott Peck, in his 1993 Washington DC radio talk show, had a guest who had served in the Navy for fifteen years before changing his gender to female. I have long been concerned that the military ban (and the legal logic that supposedly justifies it at the appellate level) can cause problems for gays in other civilian areas, like law enforcement or teaching, where forced intimacy on the job might occur.

ENDA would not be as strong as other employment protection laws because it would not allow consideration for disparate impact.

Update: Oct. 18, 2007

Shailagh Murray has an article today on p A23 of The Washington Post, "Quandary Over Gay Rights Bill: Is It Better to Protect Some or None?" here.
The House Education and Labor Committee is supposed to consider this bill today, and it looks like we're back to protecting sexual orientation but not gender identity, which has surprisingly become more contentious. The HRC is walking a tightrope on this one, as it seems it must. Actually, protecting gay civilians but not gays in the Armed Forces raises similar ethical questions (because military discrimination can indirectly cause discrimination in civilian areas like security clearances, law enforcement, fire departments, teaching, etc. as it has in the past and sometimes does today in unusual circumstances).

Update: Oct. 26, 2007

The latest on this issue is that it is still stalled and unclear on trans-gender inclusion. Gay City News has a detailed story by Paul Schindler, "ENDA Stalls In Congress, For This Week At Least", here.

A story by Lou Chibbaro, Jr. in the Oct. 26 The Washington Blade (National News section) "Advisers urge Bush to veto ENDA; Frank fears Dems will bump bill to ’09; Kennedy to introduce Senate version" is here. The thrust of the argument made to Bush is that somehow ENDA supports gay marriage, which is a ridiculous claim.

Update: Oct. 31, 2007

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has a story "Bill To Ban Sexual Orientation Bias Gains Some Traction", by Bill Leonard, here.

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