Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi agreed Friday to fast-track a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA) once there are enough votes to pass it, The Advocate has learned exclusively. Although a version of the bill that protects only sexual orientation will be marked up by committee and move to a floor vote next week, the Democrat from California has promised to hold a floor vote on a fully inclusive ENDA without delay as soon as the political support is there.
So basically she’s promised the trans-inclusive-ENDA-or-nothing crowd a floor vote once they do their homework and get enough votes to pass their bill. (They don’t have the votes, Barney Frank has said the trans-inclusive bill will lose by 50 votes.) In the meantime, she’s going to move ahead with the GLB ENDA, which does have the votes. This way both 25 million gays and lesbians benefit, as do a hundred thousand trans community members.
What remains to be seen is whether the NGLTF and its allies will join James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Lou Sheldon and Pat Robertson in trying to kill ENDA.
Here is the statement I just got from the Speaker’s Office
Office of the Speaker
Hon. Nancy Pelosi
H-232, The Capitol
October 12, 2007
Drew Hammill said, “In her 20-year career in Congress, the Speaker has been a strong advocate in the fight to end discrimination against all LGBT Americans.
“The Speaker has committed to passing the broadest ENDA bill possible.
“As the Speaker told the audience at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner on Saturday, ‘Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and others will do the inside maneuvering. But we cannot succeed without outside mobilization. Working together, we will mobilize, and educate. Each and every one of us must take personal responsibility for passing the strongest possible ENDA – one vote at a time.’
“The House will move forward on H.R. 3685, however the Speaker is committed to passing a fully-inclusive bill once it is proven that the commitments to pass the legislation exist.”