Should You Be Worried That Barney Frank Just Put ENDA on the Longer-Term List?


Oh, not to scare you into thinking you need to rush to the phone to dial your federal lawmaker today (s/he won’t answer; it’s Veteran’s Day), but did you know that all your hoping for a quick passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been for naught? Because ENDA isn’t arriving anytime soon, kids!

That’s the message Dr. Jillian T. Weiss, a workplace consultant and law professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey, is sending after talking to her “DC insider friends,” who reveal “some of the more conservative House Democrats are beginning to raise concerns about ENDA. The right-ward shift indicated by the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races and the Maine vote makes them nervous, and they don’t want to be forced to vote on controversial legislation.”

Oh noze! Does that mean the Matthew Shepard Act’s passage won’t be quickly followed up by more gay law?

Looking at statements to the Washington Blade from Rep. Barney Frank — who’s one of the lead House advocates on ENDA — Weiss reads between the lines, and sees Frank’s comment about how the Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act (which would grant benefits to LGBT federal employees) has a strong chance of passing before anything else as evidence ENDA is on the backburner. And also, because Frank “noted that a House floor vote is expected to occur no later than February.”

Exclaims Weiss: “February? Did he say House vote in February? Not…before Thanksgiving? Not…before the end of the year? So wait, let me count….if the House vote takes place in February, and then proceeds to the Senate, which will need some time to do various procedural things before bring it to the Senate floor, that means that the Senate will be considering ENDA right around the time that midterm election campaigns begin. … So now, domestic partner benefits have jumped in front of ENDA? And they’re going to try to do ENDA around the same time as DADT? How many sponsors does ENDA have in the House? 189. How many for DPBO? 127. ENDA is way ahead of DPBO.”

It’s as if a Democratic lawmaker made certain commitments to the LGBT community, and is now getting all murky about them.