Civil Rights Groups Practice Wishful Thinking

HRC, NAACP Support HR 3685

Ignoring over three hundred rights groups and thousands of activists, Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights are pushing Congress to pass a non-inclusive ENDA.

These groups – and others – have sent a letter out calling for the “pragmatic” legislation. Though they acknowledge the need for trans rights, the gaggle writes:

As civil rights organizations, however, we are no strangers to painful compromise in the quest for equal protection of the law for all Americans. From the Civil Rights Act of 1957 through the almost-passed District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2007, legislative progress in the area of civil and human rights has almost always been incremental in nature. With each significant step toward progress, the civil rights community has also faced difficult and sometimes even agonizing trade offs. We have always recognized, however, that each legislative breakthrough has paved the way for additional progress in the future.

With respect to ENDA, we take the same view.

While we are greatly disappointed that the current version of ENDA is not fully inclusive, our sense of frustration in this case is directed at those who would clearly prefer to see no one from the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community protected at all.

The idea of unity doesn’t seem to figure into this equation. While we’re all about protecting our gay brothers and sisters, it seems unlikely that many of them will come out to help their trans peers. Without such support, it seems unlikely that neither our government nor its people will rally for a group many still consider to be deviants.

Meanwhile, Gay City News reports that today’s tentative ENDA vote has been postponed until tomorrow. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin’s trans-inclusive amendment will get ten minutes of floor time.