Thursday, November 08, 2007

House passes ENDA without transgender protections; Bush is likely to veto if Senate agrees

There are widespread media reports this morning (Nov. 8) that the House of Representatives has passed (235-184) a version of ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a version that would not protect transgendered individuals, an omission that has outraged many and that does not seem to make "moral" sense.

The bill exempts religious organizations and the US military (for uniformed members; it would apparently protect civilians). The bill might correct some arcane legal risks that might exist in civilian areas (like teaching) where persons might be compelled to work in conditions of involuntary forced intimacy with non-intact same sex persons.

Conservatives have claimed that the bill is an invitation for trial lawyers. It still has to pass the Senate in form. Rumors have it that President Bush would veto the bill.

Had a bill like this been passed before, some years back, I might have decided to become a teacher after retirement. As it is, I am unwilling to make the financial investment in degrees and course work to do a career switch, as I have discussed on other blogs.

The bill would not require disparate impact provisions. It's difficult, in an intellectual way (and without equal "good faith" marriage rights), to predict how the discrimination concept would play out in workplace situations where GLBT and "traditionally married" workers have different personal aims and consume resources (and benefits) differently, an issue already well known in eliminating discrimination based on gender, but even more complicated potentially.

The AP story "House OKs Bill Protecting Gay Workers" by Andrew MIGA appears on AOL now here.

I wrote about this issue on this blog on Oct. 1 (q.v.)

Update: Nov 9.

The Washington Blade's Nov. 9 story "House passes ENDA in ‘historic’ vote: Outcome leaves many gay activists disappointed over lack of trans protections By Lou Chibbaro, Jr.," is here.

The Falls Church News-Press, a local newspaper in Northern Va., has (in the Nov. 8-14 2007 issue) a national commentary "HRC's Broken Promises" in a column called "Anything But Straight" by Wayne Besen, here. (The author's book is "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Lies and Scandals Behind the Ex-Gay Myth"). At one point, he writes, for individualistic people who think that Human Rights Campaign has no right to speak for them or to ask for "more than you can afford" at dinners, "Well, the truth is, they do speak for you, by virtue of the fact that they are the largest membership organization and have a $30 million dollar budget. That afford them a unique platform and by claiming their voice is irrelevant, it only hurts the status of the entire GLBT cause on Capitol Hill." But then he goes on to analyze their flip-flop and rationalizations (the probable veto, etc) on the entire trans-gender mess.

The whole "moral" problem is that it is a compromise, and starts to lose principle. Second class status is still just that.

Picture: LGBT Pride in Atlanta, June, 2004.

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