Thursday, December 3, 2009

IF WE CAN'T EVEN PASS ENDA, FORGET ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE!

Dr. Jillian Weiss over at Bilerico.com is pissed, and with good reason. Today is ZERO HOUR on ENDA, we need three Representatives in the Committee responsible for it--House Committee on Education and Labor--to demand that chairman George Miller schedule a markup of the ENDA bill so it may have a chance of passing in this Congress. Over days and days, Jillian and other ENDA proponents promoted her Change.org petition to the Committee, and how many people signed it? 260. Out of 30,000,000 LGBT people in the United States--not to mention allies--260 signed the petition.

Folks, you want marriage equality? If we can't even get these gutless politicians to make a move on EMPLOYMENT PROTECTIONS so that people can have JOBS and LIVE, how the hell do you think we're going to get them to support something SO MUCH MORE CONTROVERSIAL as MARRIAGE EQUALITY?

You have to walk before you run, folks. If you want marriage equality, you need to open the door with ENDA. Take a look at what Dr. Weiss says:
"It is 5 minutes to midnight on ENDA, with still a possibility of getting a vote this year if everyone pulls together, and what happens? Do we have LGBT and progressive media exploding with articles of protest and telling people how to lobby Congress effectively to get this moving?

Nope. Instead, a NY marriage vote that was known to be doomed sucks all the oxygen out of the room. The D.C. city council preliminary vote on marriage is also in the news. But unlike most mornings when I crank up my Google machine, there are no news articles this morning on ENDA, anywhere. This despite the fact that the Committee that's supposed to mark it up announced yesterday that it's not on the schedule next week, which means that it's probably going in the deep freeze until February unless a miracle happens. As I've explained ad nauseam in previous posts, that is going to make ENDA harder to achieve.

Let me first say -- get on the phone and call the House Committee to help get ENDA moving again. It ain't over till its over, and you have to be in it to win it. Okay, now that you've all done that, let's drop the happy crap, and examine what happened to ENDA in 2009 to bring us from the assumptions of invulnerability surrounding its re-introduction, to today, when we are staring at its imminent placement in the deep freeze. This will help the LGBT and progressive communities realize how much more effort is really needed to pass ENDA.

I am pleased to say that I have been invited to discuss ENDA on the Michelangelo Signorile radio show on Sirius-XM this afternoon at 4:30 ET. I am not pleased to say that many more such discussions should have been out there months ago on many radio shows and websites and newspapers in the LGBT and progressive communities."

Continue reading Dr. Weiss' piece at: ENDA Postponement Trumped By Marriage Debacle, Again | The Bilerico Project

Later in the piece, Dr. Weiss goes on to say:
"'We are on track to pass this bill in the House this year,' said Representative Barney Frank on the day of ENDA's introduction, June 24, 2009. He also said that a hearing would take place in July. However, he also said that "obstacles still exist and LGBT activists need to continue to step up their lobbying for the bill."

Did LGBT activists and media step up their lobbying for the bill? I think some activists did, but I think that both activists and the media largely dropped the ball.

Relative to the volume of efforts and news on other issues, such as marriage equality, Don't Ask Don't Tell and DOMA, ENDA was almost completely drowned out. I have been tracking the news every day since June, when ENDA was re-introduced, and what I have seen is massive coverage of DADT and DOMA and little coverage of ENDA.

The reason that I dropped everything to start posting obsessively every day on ENDA is because I saw how low it was on the list of priorities, and given my expertise in workplace discrimination issues, I feel passionate about it. Let me tell you, entering the political fray is not that pleasant an experience. While many people were encouraging, there were also many who disparaged my efforts. I do, however, have a fairly thick hide and a poor memory, and both are important in politics."

Meanwhile, in an email alert to supporters of her Change.org petition, she says:

"Update about 'Mr. Chairman, Please Move on ENDA Now' on Change.org

I have faxed our 260 signatures to Chairman Miller, who has not responded with any action or statement. I have spoken to his LGBT outreach coordinator every day, but Chairman Miller has not been forthcoming.

Under House Rule 11, section 2-c-2, three members of the Committee can demand a markup, which must be scheduled within 3 days. On a national community conference call held yesterday, December 1, 2009, it was decided that we will ask Representatives Jared Polis and Lynn Woolsey, also of the Committee, to make this demand of Chairman Miller. I have faxed them our petition as well. You can find the names of 26 other friendly members of the Committee here, along with a script of what to ask for and more info: http://bit.ly/7RqUPx

Please call the House operator today at (202) 224-3121 and speak to the offices of Rep. Polis and Woolsey and ask that they demand a markup of ENDA, HR 3017, from Chairman George Miller of the House Committee on Education and Labor under Rule 11 2-c-2.

If the bill is not rescheduled shortly (i.e. within a few days), it will be put off until next year, when it will have to compete against a legislative logjam of other bills and midterm election campaigns.

Thank you for your support of ENDA.

Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Associate Professor of Law and Society

Ramapo College"

This is the moment when we decide whether we unite as a community and get ourselves heard, or whether we take this time to continue our separate songs of discord, ensuring that noone on Capitol Hill will EVER take us seriously.

No matter WHAT your own personal goals for the LGBT community, nothing will be possible if we tell Capitol Hill, we don't even have enough clout and unity to band together to pass EMPLOYMENT PROTECTIONS. Do it, and do it now. Make the decision.