Gear up, readers, because it’s time for the Senatorial ENDA fight.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act very nearly caused a queer civil war last year, when the House of Representatives passed an act covering sexual orientation only. Many activists and politicos argued that such trans inclusion unacceptable. And those calls will definitely be renewed as Senator Ted Kennedy prepares to push a vote among his political peers. Trans activist Mara Keisling already made her voice known, telling the Associated Press:
We’ve expressed to Senator Kennedy’s office our disappointment and opposition to his idea to move forward. We’re always working and talking with his office and we’ll see what happens.
Kennedy sides with other incrementalists, those who believe it’s best to take small, possibly more realistic steps to pass full inclusion down the road. Said the Senator:
The fact is that the House of Representatives has taken action. The best opportunity for progress is…to follow along on the action of the House of Representatives, and then look down the road to a new day after we have a good Democratic Congress and a Democratic president.
Of course Kennedy took the opportunity to highlight his party’s progressive nature, but last year’s ordeal showed that we need Republican support.
Human Rights Campaign will no doubt be working the Hill to gather support – and to quell criticism: the non-profit came under heavy fire last year after flip-flopping on trans inclusion. Said spokesman Brad Luna, “We will continue this work until all members of our community no longer fear being fired for who they are.”
No matter how many politicians get involved, there will always be haters, like social conservatives who call non-discrimination laws “special rights.” We’re looking forward to all the short-sighted editorials! And, we hope, statements from the presidential nominees. Both Democratic hopefuls – Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – have come out to support a fully inclusive ENDA.