Wednesday, June 24, 2009
WELL THEY ARE RUNNING IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, LET'S SEE IF IT FLIES...
More than 100 members of Congress back measure
Jun 23 2009, 4:46 PM | |
A revised version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that includes protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is expected to be unveiled Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and other members of Congress were slated to gather Wednesday for a press conference at the Rayburn House Office Building to discuss the federal measure.
Frank is slated to formally introduce the bill this week. According to his office, more than 100 members of Congress have signed on to co-sponsor the measure. Among the sponsors are gay House members Frank, Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.). The lead Republican sponsor is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).
In a recent interview with the Blade, Frank said he believes prospects for passing a trans-inclusive ENDA have improved significantly since 2007, when he and other House Democratic leaders said the measure would be defeated if a gender identity clause were kept in the bill.
Over the strong objections of transgender activists and many gay advocacy groups, House Democratic leaders dropped the transgender provision from the bill in September 2007. The House went on to pass it the following month, but the measure died when the Senate took no action on it.
"Things have gotten better," Frank said earlier this month. "The transgender community is lobbying hard."
He said a House hearing last year on anti-trans discrimination helped build support for a non-discrimination bill with a gender identity provision.
Yet Frank said opposition still exists to non-discrimination legislation covering transgender persons. He pointed to concerns raised by activists in Massachusetts, New York and Maryland that they continue to encounter problems in pushing through state bills banning discrimination against transgender people.
"I just need to remind people that when we have trouble doing something in New York, Maryland and Massachusetts, it doesn't get easier when you have South Carolina, Utah and Nebraska," he said.
Frank was referring to the conservative-leaning states whose members of Congress will be voting on the soon-to-be introduced trans-inclusive ENDA.
"But I am encouraged," he said. "I think the transgender community and others have been doing this in a very good way. This time they have been doing the lobbying."