Tag Archives: ENDA

Gay History - 1974: The Equality Act Introduced to Congress and We Are Still Waiting

Gay History – January 14 1974: Bella Abzug Introduces the First Equality Act to Congress

In 1974, gay activists in New York City were fighting to pass a city-wide gay rights ordinance. Then NY Representative to Congress Bella Abzug (pictured above), inspired by the emergence of the first national gay rights organization, the then newly formed National Gay Task Force (NGTF), had the idea to circumvent local homophobes by introducing federal legislation that would give gays and lesbians full FEDERAL equality under the law.

Enlisting the co-sponsorship of Ed Koch (D-NY), (the closeted New York Congressman who would go on to become the mayor of New York City), Abzug courageously introduced the Equality Act on  January 14th of 1974 — the first piece of federal legislation to address discrimination based on sexual orientation. The act would amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status, or sexual orientation in public accommodations, public facilities, public education, federally assisted programs, housing, and financial services. Anticipating contemporary “hate crime” legislation, the act further stipulated penalties for anyone who willfully injured, intimidated, or interfered with a person on the basis of sex, marital status, or sexual orientation and empowered the U.S. Attorney General to take civil action against such discrimination

Of course it failed.

In 1975, the National Gay Task Force urged Abzug and Koch to try again. This time, the pair got twenty-four members of Congress (including themselves) to co-sponsor their proposed legislation: the Civil Rights Amendment of 1975. Bruce Voeller, director of the NGTF, along with NGTF national coordinator Nathalie Rockhill, organized a press conference on Capitol Hill, inviting prestigious organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women (NOW), to attend. Rockhill was slated to introduce Congresswoman Abzug, who would then explain the bill to the press. The Civil Rights Amendment of 1975, Abzug explained as she spoke into the microphone, would extend the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968 to protect gays and lesbians in all of the areas covered by the proposed Equality Act of 1974; and like the Equality Act, the amendment would penalize anyone who discriminated against someone on the basis of their sexual orientation.

And once again the bill did not pass.

Beginning in the 1990’s, Congressional efforts shifted to the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). More narrow in scope than the Equality Act, ENDA would prohibit discrimination in hiring practices and employment on the basis of sexual orientation and, in some versions of the bill, gender identity without amending the Civil Rights Act. In 1994, ENDA was introduced in the House by Congressman Gerry Studds (D-MA) and in the Senate by Ted Kennedy (D-MA). Both times, the bill died in committee.

ENDA was introduced in every Congress since 1994 except the 109th. The bill gained its best chance at passing after the Democratic Party gained the majority after twelve years of Republican majorities in the 2006 midterm elections. In 2007, gender identity protections were added to the legislation for the first time. Some sponsors believed that even with a Democratic majority, ENDA did not have enough votes to pass the House of Representatives with transgender inclusion and it was dropped the bill, it was the closest that the bill ever got to passing,  ENDA passed the House and then died in the Senate. President George W. Bush threatened to veto the measure even if it did make it to his desk.

A trans-inclusive ENDA was again introduced again in 2009 by Frank in the House and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the Senate, only to die in each chamber’s respective committee.

ENDA was introduced twice more by Merkley: in 2011, where it again stalled in committee and in 2013, where it passed the Senate with bipartisan support — including the backing of President Barack Obama — in a 64–32 vote only to then die in the Republican controlled House.

Some 45 years later Abzug’s “Equality Act” was reborn. This version, introduced on May 2nd, 2017, in the House by Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) and in the Senate by Jeff Merkley, would go back to amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act, and laws regarding employment with the federal government to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories. .

Now once again the Equality Act waits gathering dust while LGBT Americans in 30 states have no civil protections at all.

48 years later.

Shameful.

Gay History – June 12: The Murder of Philip Walsted, Loving v. Virginia, Happy Birthday Buddy Cole, and HRC Drops the “T”

June 12th .

1892 – American Feminist writer and illustrator Djuna Barnes is born. Her writings are believed to be the first English language poems with lesbian content.

Barnes played an important part in the development of 20th century English language modernist writing and was one of the key figures in 1920s and 30s bohemian Paris after filling a similar role in the Greenwich Village of the teens.  Her novel “Nightwood” became a cult work of modern fiction, helped by an introduction by T. S. Eliot. It stands out today for its portrayal of lesbian themes and its distinctive writing style. Since Barnes’s death, interest in her work has grown and many of her books are back in print.

1950 – Birth date of Nick Brown, British Member of Parliament. He was forced by the “News of the World” newspaper in 1998 to announce that he is gay. This he did with characteristic good humour, telling an audience of farmers: “It’s a lovely day. The sun is out – and so am I.”

1959 – Birth date of Scott Thompson, openly gay actor 1967.  

Thompson is best known for the character he created of Charles Budderick “Buddy” Cole an effeminate, scandalous, gay socialite, made famous on The Kids in the Hall, a popular Canadian sketch comedy series and troupe of the same name. The character also had a recurring role in The Colbert Report .

1959  – The US Supreme Court issued its ruling in Loving v. Virginia. The case was brought by an interracial couple who challenged the constitutionality of laws banning interracial marriage. The court ruled in favor of the couple, and ruled marriage to be a civil right.

1970 – Neva Joy Heckman and Judith Ann Belew attempted to become legally married. The ceremony was held at Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles and performed by Rev Troy Perry, the founder of the denomination. Under California law, a couple who has lived together at least two years can be legally joined without a license by having a church ceremony and being issued a church certificate.

1975 – The Austin Lesbian Organization was given airtime on the Texas public interest interview program “For Your Information.”

1981 – A Provincial Court judge in Toronto found two employees guilty and three owners not guilty of keeping a common bawdyhouse. Charges related to the Barracks steambath, raided by police December 9, 1978.

1983 – “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker made its appearance on the New York Times bestseller list.

1989 – A rally was held outside the state house in Boston to demand approval of a gay rights bill. 300 people attended.

1995 – The Employment Non-Discrimination Act was re-introduced in Congress. Transgender individuals were purposely excluded from the official bill presented to Congress  because it was thought to be too risky in getting the bill to pass. Congressman Barney Frank and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) were behind the exclusion as they saw this reframing as a way to make the bill more marketable. However, 350 national queer organizations opposed the exclusion of gender identity from the bill in an act of solidarity with trans communities.  To this day HRC is resented by many for this cowardly act and helped create a rift between the Trans and LGB community that still has not been repaired to this day.

1997 – San Francisco Human Rights Commissioners voted five-to-one to retain laws regulating sex clubs and bathouses, including the banning of private rooms. Because we all know a banning a private room stops AIDS not education and condoms.

1997 – A New York appeals court revoked all legal rights as a parent from a lesbian who had been granted limited visitation with a child born to her ex-lover.

2002 – Philip Walsted, 24, was beaten with a baseball bat and robbed on a downtown Tucson street.  

Walsted was walking home on June 12, 2002, when he was attacked and beaten with a baseball bat by 22-year-old David Higdon in the course of a robbery. Walsted was struck in the head with the bat up to 20 times, and received more than 50 wounds as a result of the attack. He died later that day at University Medical Center. 

David A. Higdo, an avowed neo-Nazi  was sentenced to life without parole

2003 – Philadelphia’s Boy Scout council, which defied the national BSA organization in May 2003 by promising not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, ousted a Scout, Gregory Lattera, 18, for publicly announcing he is gay. The same council, the nation’s third largest, voted May 28 to add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy.

2006 – Australia’s Attorney General, Phillip Ruddock, overturned a same-sex marriage law in the Australian Capital Territory.

2011 – On this date, Episcopal clergy in the diocese of San Joaquin, California, officially recognized gay and lesbian partnerships as “sacred unions.”





October Is GAY - LGBT HISTORY MONTH! Now Learn A Little History About Why.

Gay History – June 2: AIDS Tax Introduced in Congress, Bill Clinton Introduces PRIDE Month, and Crimes Against Nature Charges in 2008

June 2;

1983 – US Congressman Lawrence McDonald (D-GA) proposed that a “user-tax” be imposed on people with AIDS to finance research, saying that since they caused the epidemic they shouldn’t expect others to pay for the research necessary to find treatments.

McDonald, who considered himself a traditional Democrat “cut from the cloth of Jefferson and Jackson,” was known for his ultra-conservative views, even by southern standards and was more conservative than many members of the Republican Party at the time.  In fact, one scoring method published in the American Journal of Political Science named him the second most conservative member of either chamber of Congress between 1937 and 2002.

McDonald sponsored amendments to stop government aid to homosexuals and also co-sponsored a bill “expressing the sense of the Congress that homosexual acts and the class of individuals who advocate such conduct shall never receive special consideration or a protected status under law”.

MacDonald was also the second president of the John Birch Society and opposed the establishment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day saying the FBI had evidence that King “was associated with and being manipulated by communists and secret communist agents.”

On September 1, 1983 Lawrence McDonald boarded Korean Air Lines Flight 007. to attend a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the United States–South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty. McDonald and the rest of the passengers and crew of KAL 007 were killed when Soviet fighters, under the command of Gen. Anatoly Kornukov, shot down KAL 007 near Moneron Island after the plane entered Soviet airspace.when it was shot down by Soviet interceptors and all passengers were dead.

Who said there is no such thing as Karma?

1987 – “A Chorus Line” creator Michael Bennett died of complications from AIDS at age 44 in Tucson, Arizona

1989 – The first annual Lambda Literary awards ceremony was held.  The “Lammy” is the most prestigious, competitive, and comprehensive literary award offered specifically to LGBT authors writing about queer lives across multiple genres published by large and small presses.

1998 – The Rhode Island legislature voted to repeal the state’s sodomy law. The prison sentence under the law had ranged from 7-20 years. 

2000 – Bill Clinton, the first U.S. President to proclaim June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, issued his final pride proclamation. Clinton took the occasion to renew his call for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  Four years earlier in 1996 Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act which prevents the Federal Government from recognizing same sex marriages in America.

2008 – Charges of crimes against nature were dropped against two men who were arrested for having consensual sex in Wake County, N.C. since it was in private. Though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 that consensual gay sex is not a punishable offense, North Carolina still classified sodomy as an illegal activity. Raleigh police were told that they could continue to arrest gay men for having public sex, but not private sex.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Rules That Anti-Gay Workplace Discrimination Is Barred By Existing Laws

Equalty

In a HUGE win coming blindly from left field. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that existing civil rights law bars sexual orientation-based employment discrimination.

Via Buzzfeed:

The independent commission addressed the question of whether the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars anti-LGB discrimination in a complaint brought by a Florida-based air traffic control specialist against Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx.

The ruling — approved by a 3-2 vote of the five-person commission — applies to federal employees’ claims directly, but it also applies to the entire EEOC, which includes its offices across the nation that take and investigate claims of discrimination in private employment. While only the Supreme Court could issue a definitive ruling on the interpretation, EEOC decisions are given significant deference by federal courts.

Lambda Legal reacts:

“This landmark opinion from the EEOC confirms what we have long argued in our cases: discriminating against gay, lesbian and bisexual employees violates federal law. This ruling is likely to have enormous positive effects because EEOC interpretations of Title VII are highly persuasive to the courts—they tend to be predictive. Given the clarity and logic of this opinion, most courts are likely to stop simply referring to old, illogical rulings about Title VII coverage. A few may disagree, but most probably will be guided by the Commission’s straightforward approach,” said Greg Nevins, Counsel and Employment Fairness Strategist for Lambda Legal. Lambda Legal has been working for years on cases showing why Title VII, when properly understood, protects LGBT employees. This EEOC decision cites some of Lambda Legal’s recent work on this issue and it will be immensely significant in this continuing work.

While EEOC rulings are not binding in federal courts,they are persuasive. And expect this decision to end up before the Supreme Court in the future.

And so the next great LGBT battle begins.

#EqualityNow

Over Hyped Strawman LGBT Anti-discrimination Bill Clears Legislature in Utah, Discrimination Bill Pending‏

Mormon

 

After a much over-hyped PR spin Bill SB296 passed he Utah House on Wednesday. The bill itself to will enact Utah’s first statewide non-discrimination protections for the gay and transgender community, while providing safeguards for religious liberty. (ie. MAJOR Religious exemptions)

The bill itself, which bears a close resemblance to the recently failed and much criticized version of ENDA has been much hyped by many major LGBT organizations because to quote Zach Ford of ThinkProgress: “It may be the best Bill that could pass there.”

S.B. 296, however, is far from a perfect bill. It contains a lot of provisions that are unique to the legal climate of Utah that would not translate elsewhere. Given the ubiquitous presence of the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) in Utah, it may be the best bill that could pass there — and is thus better than no protections. Though it does contain some interesting new ideas that could be adapted elsewhere, it is by no means a model for other states to consider.

For example, the bill only protects LGBT people in employment and housing; it does not address public accommodations (e.g. how businesses treat customers). Thus, as a civil rights bill, it pales compared to the more universal protections afforded other classes like race at the national level. It also falls short of the wider array of protections offered by many other states, and the kind of proposals activists hope to soon see introduced in Congress.

The bill also exempts any employers that constitute “a religious organization, a religious corporation sole, a religious association, a religious society, a religious educational institution, or a religious leader, when that individual is acting in the capacity of a religious leader.” Religious leaders are specifically defined as somebody who is an “authorized representative” of a religious organization. The exemption also extends to any corporation or association that is an affiliate or subsidiary of such a religious organization. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), which is quite prominent in Utah because of LDS support, enjoys its own specific exemption

And now after all the trumpeting and priase from the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Utah who seem to be the only LGBT people in Utah thrilled about this straw-man “anti-discrimination bil” that protects the Mormon’s more than our own community, the Utah legislation is ALSO advancing a seperate “religious freedom” bill (SB297) which allows the church and its related entities to NOT have to recognize ‘LEGAL’ same-sex marriages and allow public employee to discriminate against by refusing to provide equal access to government benefits.

What a royal clusterfuck. And all brought to you by our LGBT organizations who are willing to accept crumbs so it looks like they are doing something.

One Year After Dangerously Flawed ENDA Passes The Senate, The HRC Still Supports and Praises It.

Gay Inc

 

From the HRC Blog:

Today marks one year since the historic passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) through the Senate.  This bipartisan legislation, which won the support of 10 Republican Senators, would prohibit discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  

HRC supports the ENDA for a very simple reason: it will guarantee millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in all 50 states explicit, reliable protections from discrimination in the workplace.  No longer would qualified, hardworking Americans be denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise discriminated against just because they are LGBT.  And the public overwhelmingly supports these workplace protections.  In fact, 8 out of 10 people mistakenly believe that this is already law.

Unfortunately, House Republican Leadership has continued to stand in the way of equality, refusing to bring the legislation to a vote in the House of Representatives.  If Members of Congress were given the opportunity to vote, ENDA would pass in the House.

This version of ENDA would also  guarantee that religious organizations and institutions would be legally able to discriminate against and fire LGBT Americans and such discrimination would be written into law and then be very hard undo.

So why exactly is HRC not only still supporting this dog of bill but also still praising it?

 

 

 

Rep. Jared Polis Files Discharge Petition For ENDA With Much Narrower Religious Exemption

ENDAHouse of Representatives Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) announced today that he has filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).  Polis introduced the resolution before the House Rules Committee, H.Res. 678, that would narrow ENDA’s religious exemption in the event the committee approved the bill for a vote on the House floor.

Pep. Polis’ statement:

A discharge petition is a procedure to force a vote on legislation if it receives signatures from the majority of the House of Representatives. This move comes after the House Republican leadership has continued to refuse to hold a vote on this bipartisan bill.
 
“This is common sense legislation that is supported by a majority of Americans and was passed overwhelmingly by the United States Senate,” said Rep. Polis. “The Republicans have been dragging their feet on this bill for too long, allowing workplace discrimination against hardworking LGBT Americans to continue. In our nation that was founded on the notion that with hard work and dedication anyone can get ahead, it is unthinkable that employees can still be fired for who they love or what gender they are. I hope Members from both sides of the aisle will sign this petition and protect all Americans from discrimination in the work place.”

The discharge petition was the last ditch effort that Polis could make to get the long stalled and much controversial bill moving in the House of Representatives since John Boehners refusal to bring it up for a vote before the years end.

IF and its a very big IF,  the the discharge petition is successful ENDA will the new version of the religious exemption would come up for a vote and IF passed would go back to the Senate where Tico Almedia and Freedom to Work negotiated the original much looser and dangerous exemption that would right LGBT discrimination by “religious organizations” into law.

 

July 22, 2014
Mr. POLIS submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Rules


 

RESOLUTION
Providing for the consideration of the bill (S. 815) to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

Resolved,

     That immediately upon adoption of this resolution, the House shall proceed to the consideration in the House of the bill (S. 815) to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. The amendment described in section 2 shall be considered as adopted. The bill, as amended, shall be considered as read. All points of order against provisions in the bill, as amended, are waived. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill, as amended, and on any further amendment thereto, to final passage without intervening motion except one hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and one motion to recommit.

 

    Sec. 2. The amendment described in this section is an amendment to S. 815 to strike section 6 of the bill and insert the following:

 

`SEC. 6. EXEMPTION FOR RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS.

 

    `This Act shall not change the requirements of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.), pursuant to section 702(a) or 703(e)(2) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1(a), 2000e-2(e)(2)), applicable to a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities. Such organizations are not exempt from the requirements of this Act to refrain from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, in the same manner as is required with respect to discrimination based on race, color, sex and national origin under such title.’.

 

    Sec. 3. Clause 1(c) of rule XIX shall not apply to the consideration of S. 815.

 

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.RES.678:

Despite Backpeddling HRC Continues To Praise and Support The Current Dangerous Version ENDA

Gay Inc

Despite the fact that  Human Rights Campaign President Chad “Rosa Parks” Griffin has said publicly that HRC will push for fully inclusive and comprehensive protection bill for LGBT’s in 2015.  They are STILL backing and pushing the very dangerous version of ENDA that currently sits in the House that they have signed off on that allows for a religious exemption that would actually write LGBT discrimination law.  A move that in the end would be nearly impossible to reverse.

9/17/14

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, issued the following statement today thanking Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives for their efforts to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

“We appreciate the leadership of Leader Pelosi and Congressman Polis in seeking every possible avenue to advance ENDA in the House this year, “said David Stacy, HRC’s Government Affairs Director.  “No American should be denied a job opportunity, fired, or discriminated against just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. With an overwhelming two-thirds of American voters, including a strong majority of Republicans, supporting a federal law that protects LGBT people from workplace discrimination, this is clearly an issue lawmakers from both parties can support.  Speaker Boehner should bring ENDA to the floor for a vote.”

ENDA would provide millions of LGBT people in all 50 states explicit, reliable protections from discrimination in the workplace. According to a September 2013 poll by Republican pollster Alex Lundry, supermajorities of Republicans and Democrats back a federal law protecting LGBT Americans from workplace discrimination. More than 100 major businesses and Fortune 500 companies in HRC’s Business Coalition for Workplace Equality support ENDA. In November of 2013, the Senate passed ENDA with strong bipartisan support in a vote of 64 to 32..

Because you know,  HRC just can’t admit that they were wrong and that this version of ENDA that they support and love so dearly is nothing more than a dangerous dog that will come back to bite us on the ass if ever passed.

FRC’s Tony Perkins Cries Over The “Ideological Oppression” of ENDA

Tony Perkins Nazi2

 

Obviously Miss Perkins hasn’t read the current useless version of ENDA. *snort*

“Speaking of ideological oppression, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is full of it. But apparently, not full enough to suit the radical Left. After months of demanding action, liberals are abruptly bailing on the legislation, which many of them called their top legislative priority. The about-face comes just days after the Supreme Court upheld the religious rights of businesses like Hobby Lobby. It’s a ruling, liberals worry, could translate into new protections for employers with similar faith-based objections to homosexuality. This is how extreme homosexual activists are. If they can’t demand acceptance from every American, regardless of their moral views, then they aren’t interested in enacting ENDA. Not until they can order Christian schools, daycares, summer camps, and other role model occupations into celebrating a lifestyle diametrically opposed to their faith. Leaders in Congress and elsewhere mistakenly think they can satisfy this radical fringe by climbing aboard the ‘special rights’ bandwagon. They can’t. The only satisfaction they’re interested in is complete and utter surrender.”  

Of course there is no mention of the “special rights” that Perkins and other fanatical religious factions have enjoyed for decades under Civil Rights Act of 1964.

GAY RIGHTS ARE EQUAL RIGHTS!

Salem, Massachusetts Ends Contract With Gordon College Over ENDA Religious Exemption Letter

Salem

 

Salem, Massachusetts proves that its never to late to stand up to witch hunting bigoted religious fanatics.

In response to Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay’s recent actions signing a letter in support of an religious exemption from federal regulations that bar employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the current policies at Gordon College that require strict adherence to behavioral standards for students, faculty and staff that are discriminatory towards LGBT individuals -the city of Salem. Massachusetts has terminated all contracts with the college.

In a letter from Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll to Gordon College President Lindsay:

“I am truly disappointed in the stance you have taken, which plainly discriminates against the rights of LGBT individuals, both on and off campus. These actions fly in the face of the City of Salem’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance, which prohibits our municipality from contracting with entities that maintain discriminatory practices. While I respect your rights to embed religious values on a private college campus, religious freedom does not afford you the right to impose those beliefs upon others and cannot be extended into a publicly owned facility or any management contract for a publicly owned facility, like Old Town Hall. Moreover, I hope you realize how hurtful and offensive these “behavioral standards” are to members of the greater Salem LGBT community, some of whom are Gordon alumni, staff and/or students.

It saddens me to curb our contractual relationship in this manner, despite a long and positive relationship with Gordon College over the years, however, not doing so would be a violation of our Non-Discrimination Ordinance and even more troubling, allow a contractual relationship between the City of Salem and an institution that enables, and now advocates for discrimination against the LGBT community. As Mayor, I most certainly cannot let that stand.”

 

John Proctor would be proud.