Five Reasons Why Marriage Equality Is Easier To Support Than ENDA

As Senators fall all over themselves to support marriage equality, Jonathan Bernstein at The Plum Line asks a good question: whatever happened to ENDA?

Workplace protection has been a topic for discussion long before marriage equality, and far more Americans support it. So you would think that ENDA would be a whole lot easier to accept than marriage equality, but in the upside-down world of Washington, just the opposite is now true.

Here are five reasons why ENDA is lagging while marriage equality leapfrogs ahead:

1. Marriage is sexy. It’s become the litmus test for Democratic politicians, particularly Senators, and it makes a good headline. ENDA is old news, which means it’s no news.

2. There are no high visibility workplace discrimination stories. Where are today’s Cracker Barrels? They are out there somewhere, but you don’t read about them.

3. Big business has gotten behind marriage, so workplace issues appear to be moot. When Aetna, Starbucks, Microsoft and dozens of other big corporations filed friend-of-the-court briefs arguing for the repeal of DOMA, it seemed it gave the public every reason to assume that getting fired for being gay was no longer a pressing work issue.

4. Senators who have evolved on marriage don’t have to vote on it. It’s great to come out in favor of marriage, but it’s another to actually vote in favor of a law. A lot of Senators are happy to let the Supreme Court (presumably) and the states do the equality work for them. ENDA involves, you know, actual legislating, which is not these lawmakers’ strong suit.

5. Limited resources mean picking one battle at a time. Momentum is on the side of marriage equality, so all the energy is there. The question is whether, once the Supreme Court rules, ENDA gets any attention again.

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  • viveutvivas

    Workplace protections are not the most pressing issue for the rich bourgeois white privileged gays who have the most influence and give the most lobbying money. Simple as that.

  • tdx3fan

    @viveutvivas: Please forgive this rich bourgeois (not only are you using the word incorrectly, but you can not even spell it) white privileged gay for failing to understand why anyone would want to work in a company that does not welcome them (or requires a law to make them welcome them) when there literally thousands of other options. I am truly sorry.

    Wait a minute… NO I AM NOT! I worked my ass off to get where I am today, and if you do not want to desire to do that much work than that is your problem. If you work harder than everyone else than no one really cares where you put your dick. I am out and proud in life, work and at school. I wrote my homosexuality into my graduate school acceptance letter and still got accepted.

    In relation to this article, maybe the reason their are no high profile discrimination cases is because most high profile employers do not discriminate. The issue is mostly drug on by anyone looking for an excuse as to why their life sucks at this point. It is a lot easier to blame others because you do not even attempt to fit in and expect the entire world to change than it is to attempt to confirm just a little.

  • MikeE

    @tdx3fan: It would appear you also do not know how to conjugate the verb “to drag”. But that is entirely irrelevant to the discussion, as is your comment on the obvious typo of “bourgeois”.

    If you want to believe that working hard will make people ignore your homosexuality, then please, feel free to live in Oz. However, the real world really isn’t like that.

    There are plenty of hard-working people who have been discriminated against for that simple fact. The high horse does not become you.

    Besides, it is incredibly offensive to read Mitt Romney’s “the other 47%” comments coming from a gay person. People who aren’t as successful are NOT necessarily people who refuse to work hard. That’s an illusion that privileged people keep up to make themselves feel superior.

    But go ahead. Keep telling yourself that “everyone can work hard and make a success of themselves”. Just know that if that were really true, the US would be a nation of only civil lawyers and plastic surgeons.

  • erikwm

    @tdx3fan: @viveutvivas: You both sound like dicks.

    Marriage equality has eclipsed ENDA because there are more direct governmental benefits related to marriage. However, should marriage equality become law of the land, with more out gay and lesbian couples in communities hostile to our rights, the focus will shift to discrimination in employment and public accommodations. Such incidents of discrimination are likely to rise should marriage equality go national, as many small businesses in more conservative states will object to extending health care benefits to the spouses of married gay and lesbian couples. Discrimination in business and public accommodations will become more overt and need to be addressed.

  • tdx3fan

    @MikeE: It is truly sad that you see being greedy as the only way of being successful in life. You focus on the professions that make the most money in the same remark where you mention that the goal should not be about making money. Seriously, I get so sick of the victimization that people like you love to spout. In a nation where nearly every major leading corporation has comprehensive non-discrimination policies (that include gender identity and orientation) it is a little hard to play that card is it not?

    Mitt Romney’s 47% argument only applies here if you think that being successful is about making money. It is not. It is about personal freedom and making your life the way you want it to be. Also, if you are unwilling to put in actual hard work to better yourself than that is your problem. It has a lot less to do with your demographics and a lot more to do with who you are as a person.

    Also, there are plenty of civil lawyers and plastic surgeons that are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered. Pretending that there are not is doing you and them a great disservice.

  • Cam

    @viveutvivas: said…

    “Workplace protections are not the most pressing issue for the rich bourgeois white privileged gays who have the most influence and give the most lobbying money. Simple as that.”

    Just a few points in response to your ridiculously foolish comment.

    1. So apparently what you are saying is that poor nonwhite folks don’t get married? The fact is people in that group need to protections of being able to recieve their spouses benefits even more.

    2. DOMA is an existing federal law that says it is legal to not only discriminate against gays but that gays are second class citizens. Companies can and have cited DOMA in defending their right to discriminate…..I.E. “The federal govt. discriminates against gays so we can too.

    3. Lastly, this comment is directed at the origional post. Why is marriage a big issue now and ENDA isn’t? Easy, ENDA was HRC’s issue and marriage was the grass roots issue. HRC doesn’t want these issues solved because if they are solved HRC doesn’t have any reason to exist and their go their parties and salaries.

  • MikeE

    @tdx3fan: I don’t actually.
    I do see you’re attitude as being disgustingly arrogant and dismissive of anyone who doesn’t think like you do.
    So you went to graduate school. Congratulations.
    Not everyone can afford it.
    Not everyone is in a situation that allows them to do whatever they want to do.

    I don’t feel “victimized”. I’m realistic about this screwed up world and the people like you who are in it.

    It has nothing to do with YOUR perception of what “hard work” is.
    I’m criticizing your statement that “hard work” has to somehow conform to your standards. From your arrogant comments, you make it sound like only working hard, getting into graduate school, and doing exactly what it is you wanted to do, equals “success”.

    You’re a typical Rethuglican.

  • viveutvivas

    @tdx3fan: No use in my responding to your completely missing the point, but I’m curious, exactly what do you find wrong with Merriam-Webster’s spelling of “bourgeois”, and with my use of the word in its sense “marked by a concern for material interests and respectability” according to Merriam-Webster, or its French meaning of “a class of citizens who were wealthier members of the Third Estate”, or its use in Marxist theory as “a member of the property-owning class; a capitalist.”?

  • viveutvivas

    The reason ENDA has been a hot potato for gay organizations is not any of the above, but infighting over its inclusion of non-discrimination against trangender people, who are not a priority for the dominant politically powerful while male gay BOURGEOISIE (take that).

  • vklortho

    Conservatives always seem to talk about ending regulations on the “job creators” and the importance of the family and marriage. ENDA gets them all upset about the first bit, but marriage equality turns the second bit back around on them like Steven Seagal and makes them have to backtrack on why certain families don’t count in their opinion. Also marriage equality is important to me even as a straight trans woman. The law has this tendency of considering us gay men when it is beneficial to certain parties and some trans women(e.g. Nikki Araguz) have had their marriages nullified because the court decided that birth sex>all.

  • Wilberforce

    ENDA was destroyed by transgender people.
    And the gay community are so bleeding-heart, that they won’t pursue it until Ru Paul is allowed to drop his drawers and take a dump on the floor of the women’s lav at the Dallas Airport.
    So we get marriage equality, an issue that effects only a small percent of the community. It’s the usual strategic blunder of the identity politics crowd.
    We also get this stupid post, trying to explain away the problem, and shift attention from the real incompetents.

  • vklortho

    @Wilberforce: If only it weren’t for us mean trannies then the conservatives would whole heartedly regulate the hiring and firing practices of businesses for the sake of equality of a group of people that they regularly denigrate! Last I knew ENDA has failed to pass whether it did or did not have trans-inclusion.

  • viveutvivas

    @Wilberforce, no, ENDA was destroyed by rich gay white men like Barney Frank who refused to include trans people in the bill when it had a chance of passing. Everybody has to bully someone, and who else is there for the gay establishment to bully, if not trans people and the poor queer minority kids hanging out on the street corners bringing down the property values in their gentrified gayborhoods?

  • sangsue


    I am soooo happy that you’ve decided how unimportant Gay and Lesbian marriage is. Of course, only rich white people get married according to you. Never mind poor gays and lesbians who don’t have the money to pay for lawyers and fight for the rights as parents. Or a black lesbian or gay couple who can’t even visit their spouse in the hospital because the parent of the hospitalized is homophobic and has banned them from attending. Or Latino lesbian mothers whose “wives” use the homophobic laws that make only the bio-mother the real mother so they can take the child, move to a state like Virginia and retain the anti-gay lawyers by claiming she’s suddenly straight.

    F**k YOU!

  • sangsue


    I see you feel that gay marriage is unimportant because it only affects a “small percent of the community.” So because you think it’s a minor issue, it should just be dropped, forgotten about, who gives a damn right?

    You’ve obviously never lost the rights to your children.
    You’ve never lost the rights to visit your spouse in the hospital because they’re not your spouse legally which means you have no rights at all.

    But on, keep on talking about how only a few gays care about gay marriage.


  • jajagabor

    @tdx3fan: Because obviously every one can get a job at these major corporations right? Everybody out there is just getting accepted right and left to work at JP Morgan, American Airlines, and so on… Except not. because working class people are working in those corporations where there do not exist these same non-discrimination policies. You’re just so blinded by your privilege that you can’t even see what it must be like for a poor person, who does not have access to a quality education, who cannot graduate from college or graduate school, and who will never have the opportunity to have a job at a major corporation where these non-discrimination policies are in place.

    ALSO, are you kidding me about it has to do with the person not the demographics? People still are getting the short end of the stick, because they were born into the wrong class, race, or location. Some people could work all their lives and they’d still get no where because our nation’s opportunities are not spread equally among us. It’s nice that you still think demographics are not important. As a queer person of color, let me say that who you are and your race, ethnicity, and class still matter. A lot.

  • jajagabor

    @sangsue: i think one of the critiques of the marriage equality paradigm is that these rights should exist, independent of marriage. EVERYBODY should be allowed to have health care, not just because who their spouse is makes them eligible. Every queer undocumented immigrant should be eligible for legalized status, not just because their spouse can petition for them. Perhaps for specific things like spouse visitation and child adoption more specific mechanisms have to be put into place, but the rest of the critique of marriage is valid. Marriage is an institution that can exclude, and do we as a queer community, already marginalized and excluded, want to jump in on that bandwagon?

  • Wilberforce

    @sangsue: If you can’t figure out how to keep the rights to your children, or sign advanced directives for hospital visitation, without dragging the whole community into a massive political fight, there’s nothing to be said.

  • Wilberforce

    @sangsue: And thanks for the name calling.

  • Charli Girl

    Please forgive me if you are mentally ill,but WHAT WORLD DO YOU LIVE IN?
    It doesn’t matter how hard you work,bc I’ve WORKED MY HIND END OFF MY ENTIRE LIFE!
    And I am harassed EVERY SINGLE DAY!! Do you understand that statement?
    Everyday I am harassed bc of who I am…I am harassed bc of whom I choose to share my life with.
    I am harassed bc of whom I DON’T choose to share my life with.I’m harassed bc the sexual jokes that are told
    solely for my ears geared for the all mighty superior hetero world are not funny,and I let them know.

    Try to fit in? Are you serious? Who is it that you are trying to duplicate? Who is so important,that you want
    to be just like? Why not BE YOURSELF? Don’t you think you have earned that right? After all you have worked
    for it,haven’t you?

    Although I understand you have worked hard,but so haven’t we all my friend…AND WE DESERVE OUR RIGHTS! Soapbox exit left….

  • viveutvivas

    @sangsue, I never said gay marriage is not important, but f**k you too.

  • the other Greg

    Ugh. Before clicking on this story, I guessed which side would be more arrogant, nasty and irrational. It’s the marriage obsessives, AS USUAL.

    Everybody needs a job, while marriage affects a minority of the community. I’m not saying marriage is unimportant. But it affects a relatively small – and yes, relatively wealthy – group versus the near-100% who need a job.

    Also, I would hope that some poor waiter or waitress will spit (or better yet, pee) in tdx3fan’s food at some point, but no doubt that’s already happened! (Give it a French name and spell it correctly, and apparently he’ll like it.)

  • TomMc

    @the other Greg: “Everybody needs a job, while marriage affects a minority of the community. I’m not saying marriage is unimportant. But it affects a relatively small – and yes, relatively wealthy – group versus the near-100% who need a job.”

    Agreed. Very well put. Thanks for keeping your cool.

  • Merv

    Every gay person who is married or wants to get married is affected by DOMA. On the other hand, many states and localities already have anti-discrimination laws, and even the absence of such laws doesn’t mean every business establishment will discriminate. Also, achieving marriage equality makes passage of ENDA more likely, not less.

  • erics

    “3. There are no high visibility workplace discrimination stories.” Maybe that’s because sites like Queerty don’t cover them? But I guess that mostly affects poor queer people, so definitely not as important as having a story on Justin Bieber every other day.

Comments are closed.