Senate committee passes ENDA (gay jobs bill) with support from GOP’s Hatch, Murkowski, Kirk

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation to make it illegal under federal law to fire someone for being gay or trans (sexual orientation and gender identity are not covered under federal civil rights laws) passed a key vote in a US Senate committee this morning, garnering the support of all 12 Democrats on the committee and Republicans Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

29 states do not protect gay people from being fired solely because they’re gay, and the same goes for trans people in 33 states.

Hatch is an interesting fellow. In the 1990s, when I did volunteer work for Senator Kennedy, working on ENDA and DADT, Hatch was surprisingly helpful on a number of Ted Kennedy’s Labor Committee issues, especially AIDS. Still, it’s interesting that Hatch, often considered a conservative Republican, would support ENDA.

GOP desperate for gay rights, ENDA, to go away

While ENDA’s chances in the GOP-controlled House are anyone’s guess, there’s a growing consensus that the Republican party would like nothing better than for gay issues to go away, especially with the Supreme Court all but confirming that the legalization of gay marriages is now all but inevitable.  The GOP is worried about gay rights, and their opposition to it, playing into a larger narrative of intolerance, and simply being out of touch, that has Republicans concerned they are destined for minority status.

GOP’s “Latino problem” also a concern

ENDA, via HRC.

ENDA, via HRC.

Another area of concern for Republicans is immigration reform – and coming off anti-Latino. GOP Senator Lindsey Graham recently warned his colleagues that Republicans were in a “demographic death spiral” that could only be avoided by passing immigration reform.  Graham of course, ironically, had only weeks before threatened to kill immigration reform if it addressed the concerns of gay binational couples.  (Graham is concerned about a Tea Party challenger during his upcoming primary, and some think going-anti-gay is Graham’s way of proving that he’s not gay.)

As further evidence of the growing GOP concern about its famed intolerance dooming its future electoral chances, especially with youth (and women, and gays, and blacks), the Republicans recently decided to “reboot” their party, as if it were a computer that had been on so long its memory was far too cluttered to work effectively.  Sadly, the angry old computer still keeps crashing.

Will GOP threaten “reboot” by dooming ENDA?

Back to ENDA.  The theory goes, we force the Republicans in the Senate, and especially the House, to vote on ENDA and show the American people their true colors.  Are they for jobs, and equality, and tolerance, or are they the same old GOP – Grandpa’s Old Party – they’ve always been?

What’s next for ENDA?  The bill still has to go to the Senate floor for a vote of the entire Senate, and then the House needs to mark up the legislation in committee and hold a floor vote, which should be interesting as Republicans current control the House.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Sweetie

    You can’t hold slime. It slithers through one’s fingers and into the cracks.

  • Sweetie

    Given America’s history of lacing alcohol with methanol, sewing up boys’ penises, using carbolic acid on girls, warehousing/sterilization Eugenics BS, the Sedition Act, forced internment for citizens, and the like…. it’s hardly like the evangelical movement represents the downfall of great society. Same corruption… different packaging.

  • dcinsider

    I hope you’re right.

  • Herbie

    Girdle Over Pantyhose (most of those Tea Party people can’t seem to stay away from the crumpets).

  • Skeptical Cicada

    They won’t long last as a purely regional party. Big business won’t tolerate that. It’s not interested in being consigned to the Confederacy.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Exactly.

  • dcinsider

    Justice if they go into oblivion, rather than become the majority party.

    My concern is that there will remain a regional Republican party that is quite far right. Given the populations in the South, they will always yield power. While their influence will wain in the Southwest, for obvious reasons, their strength will grow in the slave states.

  • dcinsider

    Well, it was Jimmy Carter who started the whole born again bullshit, and he got the evangelicals out of their trailers and into the voting booths, a place they’d never seen before. It was the Republicans who recognized that Carter had unleashed a mob, and they took advantage of these simpletons in a political way.

    Now the simpletons don’t want to be told what to do anymore, and they want to make their own decisions, so we have the tea party. Had Carter never uncovered the rock that these cretins lived under in 1976, we might have avoided all of this.

  • dcinsider

    I’ll give you that when it comes to having a Democratic President making appointments to the federal courts, including SCOTUS. However, Democratic majorities in both houses, and the White House, failed to produce one single piece of pro-gay legislation other than repeal of DADT, and that was only after the gay community basically threatened them and then shamed them into it.

    I don’t blame the Dems, I blame us, and specifically HRC. We keep permitting the Dems to get away with ignoring us, and we give money to the moronic nitwits at HRC so they can have a cocktail party and go the the White house for a photo op once a year.

  • dcinsider

    Of course, wait for it. The Dems do no wrong gays will rail against the evil Republicans who killed ENDA. And the DCCC will tell us “well, if we had Democratic majorities this would be different.”

    Seriously, how stupid is the gay community sometimes?

  • bucadonebuvi

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

    This is one of the few situations where progressives could exact some
    vengeance from a piece-of-shit Democratic senator without losing Senate
    votes on major bills. A primary defeat for Schumer would be preferable
    (and even more fun), but if Schumer gets to the general election, I can
    see many gay and progressive voters voting against him. He would have
    only himself to blame.

  • Jim Olson

    Yep. It happened to me.

  • Rambie

    It’ll die in the Senate, some GOP’er will filibuster it to death.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    You’re welcome!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    OMG. Words fail me.

  • Jim Olson

    Concur.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yeah, but y’know, the GOPers have been behaving egregiously bad these last few years, and most folks with more than two or three neurons to rub together know who’s primarily responsible for the constant gridlock, hyper-partisanship, and the war on the poor and middle class.

    On the other hand, as you say, the Dems haven’t presented much of a viable alternative, not when things like Medicare and Social Security cuts keep being put on the table. They haven’t earned the enthusiasm of engaged voters.

  • FLL

    Many pardons for posting an off-topic comment (about the anti-gay men’s group in France, Hommen, that protests marriage equality). Comedy is sacred to me, and I just couldn’t resist because Hommen has finally crossed into self-parody. In this new video, the guys from Hommen storm the beaches of the pro-gay coastal city, Montpellier, in the south of France. When they land, they unfurl a sign that says, “Free Nicolas,” who apparently is one of their bigoted nuts arrested in another anti-marriage-equality protest. These guys don’t even have enough common sense to wear t-shirts—just their skimpy little bathing suits. It’s difficult for viewers to convince themselves that this is not the beginning of a soft-core gay porn movie. Are these Hommen guys really this clueless? High comedy:

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Except the people imprisoned in Guantanamo have no political cause, aside from wanting their freedom, or at least their day in an actual justice system. Which they should be granted, forthwith. Any propaganda victory to be gained would be one against a corrupt and broken system, and those people who we have continued to wrong for over a decade, as well as the American people, deserve that victory. What has been done, and continues to be done, with our tax payer dollars on our behalf is unconscionable. There are things Obama could be doing to address this problem as Commander-in-chief. He is either afraid to do anything, or is happy to continue atrocities in our name. I’m beyond believing it is simply fear. Aside from that… detainees have already died there, and Guantanamo is already a huge propaganda victory for anti-American sentiment, just by nature of its existence.

  • FLL

    It would be a unique event in American history for the House to flip from the opposition party to the president’s party in the midterm elections of a second-term president. It has never happened before. In fact, only once since the Civil War has the so-called “six year itch” effect been avoided, and a second-term president has seen his party win seats in the midterm elections: 1998, when the House Republicans were busy impeaching Bill Clinton, much to the ridicule of the rest of the world. Beyond that, there is one additional factor that you mention in your comment: the Democrats haven’t earned it. When they do, voters will be more enthusiastic.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The stories definitely backfired for the GOPers in ’12, where standing in line to cast a Dem vote became an act of heroic sacrifice and near civil disobedience.

    The problem though, as I see it, is it’s hard to maintain that energy — especially when the Dems who were voted into office as a consequence don’t seem to be paying much attention to the increasingly outrageous efforts at partisan voter suppression by the GOPers. It ought to be the Dems and not just the ACLU filing the lawsuits and the complaints with the FEC.

    I’ve a feeling the 2014 mid-terms are going to play out much as 2010 did, only worse.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I concur it wouldn’t be a magic bullet. And as a woman who’s hit that glass ceiling more than a few times — and who even now, am working with clients where I am often the only woman in an entire (virtual teleconference) room full of men, I can assure you that proving workplace discrimination is not easy.

    But people do file these cases and they do win sometimes. Especially whenever the discrimination has been systematic and pervasive. As I said, there’s usually a context to go along with the discrimination.

  • nicho

    The very existence of Obama’s gulag in Guantanamo is a huge propaganda victory for the Islamist side.

  • FLL

    True. The redistricting of 2010 gave the GOP an edge beyond what they really merit. You reminded us of something important, though, on a previous thread. Those districts are so exquisitely gerrymandered that it wouldn’t take much of a shift for the entire unstable house of cards to fall. When that small shift comes, the change in congressional seats might be very dramatic. The GOP gerrymandering might prove to be too clever for its own good.

    As far as voter suppression, those efforts always grab headlines, and they are just such horrible public relations. Those voter suppression news stories sometimes energize the other side.

  • nicho

    No it’s not like that at all. That’s a really bad analogy.

    If someone fires 12 openly gay people in two months, maybe so. But if they fire a gay person now and again, someone would have to try to make a case, find all the previously fired people, get them to agree to enter the case. Making a case for why someone wasn’t hired is even harder. You’d have to prove the boss knew that a person was gay — not something most people put on their resume — and then you’d have to prove that the other 65 presumably straight candidates were less qualified.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t have the law — only that it’s not going to be the magic bullet a lot of people seem to think it is.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Yes, I agree completely.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    You’re welcome.
    Yes it was. And since no one could be sure it was coming, I’m still holding Schumer fully responsible for what he did.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The problem, of course, is through their gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics, seasoned with the occasional outright stolen election, today’s GOP will continue to wield power beyond what their actual numbers would normally win, even as they become an ever smaller minority of adult Americans.

    As I said the other day, if districts were drawn fairly and everybody had equal access to the voting booth, several of the biggest GOP-dominated states — including Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio — would already be ‘purple, trending Dem Blue’.

    It’s why, for example, they’re already looking to add proportional presidential electors to the states the Dems have begun to win, but which the GOPers control at the state gov’t level.

  • FLL

    I have to second what Becca said below. Kudos to you, Cicada, for consistently reminding people what an anti-gay witch hunt immigration reform would have become if the Supreme Court hadn’t overturned DOMA.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Oh, I still agree with you, and continue to thank you for reminding me that “draconian enforcement” + “no gay rights” would = “more deported gay people.”

    The only thing that saved the LGBT community from this ongoing travesty of injustice was five votes from black-robed judges.

  • emjayay

    We have a winner.

  • emjayay

    Continual announcements of new packaging. Same product. I heard some Republican on NPR today on the topic of immigration reform not answering the questions asked, and going on about poor messaging being the problem.

  • FLL

    Spot on. Republican voters themselves created the Tea Bagger Frankenstein in 2010. There is no possible reboot until most Tea Bagger and mainstream congressmen lose. That’s the only thing that would make it possible for more socially progressive Republicans to run in their place. The congressional GOP would have to burn to the ground first before it could ever rise from its ashes, and even then, I’m skeptical because the GOP brand has been so splattered with mud. Voters will probably remember that for a very long time.

  • emjayay

    It started years before with Nixon, as LBJ predicted. But you are right, in the long view you can see continuous unprogress to where they are today. It’s like the John Birch society slowwwllly crept in and took over. Like an infection that eventually kills (hopefully).

  • emjayay

    There is a lot to complain about about Obama, but it’s not like there is a choice about force feeding or not. I would do the same. IRA deaths in prison were a huge propaganda victory for the Irish cause. Widely seen documentary and fictional films resulted.
    What he needs to do a lot faster somehow is figure out what to do with those guys Bush had stuck on Cuba often for flimsy or questionable reasons all those many years ago.

  • FLL

    New York State is one of the few states where you could elect a pro-gay Republican who would be guaranteed to vote progressive on social issues like DADT, DOMA, ENDA, etc. There’s always a group of four or so Republican senators who vote that way, and a pro-gay Republican from New York State would definitely be one of them. This is one of the few situations where progressives could extract some vengeance from a piece-of-shit Democratic senator without losing Senate votes on major bills. A primary defeat for Schumer would be preferable (and even more fun), but if Schumer gets to the general election, I can see many gay and progressive voters voting against him. He would have only himself to blame.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    YES!!!!!
    I’d even consider supporting a pro-gay New York Republican in the general, just to dislodge that backstabbing bastard from his Senate seat.

  • FLL

    I’ll repeat what I said on the last thread. I hope someone primaries Schumer—successfully. Spit back in his face.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Yep. Fuck ‘em. They played with the fire of bigotry, and now they’re being consumed in the out-of-control inferno of hate they stoked. Justice.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Digression: Straights Only Immigration Reform is DEAD? Oh, well. Sucks for those who weren’t tossed overboard I guess. Too bad that knife in my back will keep me from ever helping them again.
    Biggest loser: Chuck Schumer. Spitting in the face of the gay community for what? That’s right. Nothing. Fuck him.

  • FLL

    The older Republicans who crafted that switch to the right starting in the Reagan Era are probably divided into two groups. The first group, the true believers, will stick with the GOP to the end. The second group, the cynical strategists, probably regret the switch, now that they are drowning in a tsunami of younger voters and Hispanic voters. But you know what? The second group made their bed—now they’ll have to sleep in it. My heart bleeds peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for them.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Don’t worry. ;-)

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. Agreed.

    This ENDA flurry is all about party positioning and separating naïve gays from more of their money.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    The same guy who frets publicly about force feeding prisoners at Guantanamo, when all he has to do is sign one piece of paper to make it all stop? Yeah… right… Obama is the noble gas of presidents. He just simply doesn’t react well with others.

  • dcinsider

    ENDA is dead and this wake is simply part of the grieving process. It is a posthumous attempt by the Dems to pass something they know is DOA, so they can blame the Republicans for its demise.

    My problem with ENDA is that when the Dems controlled the House and Senate and WH for two years, they made NO EFFORT to pass the bill in that very small window of opportunity. Along with the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009, which would have cut the legs out from under DOMA, the Dems decided not to waste their political capital on teh gays. (Not to mention even repealing DOMA in 2009 when they had the chance).

    They are more than happy to help us when that help is utterly futile, but less enthusiastic to do so when they can actually effectuate change.

    So, will everyone follow the Dem playbook and yell and whine about the House Republicans (or Senate Republicans) when this thing is officially declared dead?

    I suggest we not fall for that trick again because we are like Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football. How many times do we need to be played like this?

    And, for the record, it was political malpractice for HRC to fail to get either piece of legislation through the Congress in 2009.

    If you give one red cent to that collection of nitwits and phonies, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Yeah, more or less. I mean, if they really want to fire you for some totally unethical reason, all they have to do is fudge up a negative performance review or an excuse about “restructuring” and it’s out the door you go.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Overqueerified?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    When a politician or political leader claims their hands are tied, yet objectively it is obvious they actually do have the power to enact the change they claim there’s nothing they can do about — well, they’re both lying and have another agenda in mind.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Or instead of “You old Queer” it will be “You are overqualified.”

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  • ArthurH

    Goofily One-sided Prehistorics

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Maybe having the GOP block it gives President Prissy Pants enough cover to finally sign the executive order and at least reach federal contractors.

  • fletcher

    Grizzled Odorous Poobahs!

  • Drew2u

    With filibuster reform now being discussed again, I guess, what are the chances the Senate is going to remain in Democratic majority past next year’s elections?
    I can’t help but think if filibuster reform is going to pass in the senate, then 2014 will hand over control to the Republicans with the Democrats saying, “We’ve tried! Look at how much we’re trying to do. Even though we can’t pass anything ourselves, give us money!”

  • Skeptical Cicada

    More importantly, when your co-workers make your worklife a living hell with antigay harassment and bullying, your boss would have to either stop it or fork over massive damages–and would have to be careful not to unlawfully retaliate against you or else fork over even more damages.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    True, but if that boss has a track record of firing gay people as opposed to anybody else, and avoiding hiring gay people, that evidence right there is the basis for class action.

    It’s been the same way with any non-discrimination laws — yeah, so in an individual case, they can evade it simply by making up a different reason. The point though is through behavior and statements, such bosses almost never fail to leave an evidence trail pointing directly at their biases.

    In other words, most bigots aren’t smart enough to hide their intentions.

  • nicho

    So, once it passes, your boss can no longer say, “You’re a queer – get out.” Now, he has to say “Sorry, we don’t have enough work for you — get out.” And add under his breath — “queer.”

  • nicho

    Greedy Old Pricks

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Campaign fundraising. That’s the point. And lobbyist fundraising. My email Inbox is already filling with requests that I contact my senators and, ohbytheway — donate generously to these groups and politicians.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    What’s the point? this isn’t even going to get out of committee in the House much less come up for a vote. I see this as an exercise in futility. I’m not impressed by empty gestures or rhetoric. I guess some Republican votes is a good sign. I’ll be really impressed if they can convince their colleagues in the Republican House Caucus to vote for ENDA. Call me when that happens.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Grim Old Paranoids might work.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Aye — it began with the ‘Reagan revolution’ — and Atwater’s infamous ‘Southern Strategy.’ A deliberate skewing to the far right, beginning with social and racial policies. Then it became, “Gee, that worked, we should do it more.”

    They self-radicalized over the course of a generation, apparently never really believing there was such a thing as “too radically regressive.” And now, whenever they don’t get their way, they talk openly of secession and literally work to dismantle democracy itself.

  • Indigo

    They are apparently that foolish. Some of them, anyhow.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Seems to me that it’s a stretch to say it was shanghaied, they gave it over willingly in hopes of getting their “base” energized, without considering the long-term consequences of cultivating a base that doesn’t believe government even has a purpose.

  • Indigo

    A few Republicans are waking up to realize that their party has been shanghaied by weird right wingers and left-over John Birchers. Not enough of them, obviously, but there’s a few.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    They’re already saying that immigration reform is dead because the House won’t take it up — yet according to the pundits, including major GOP leaders themselves, passing it is considered essential for their future electoral chances.

    Still, the House won’t move, because their Tea Bagger Frankensteinian monster base is so far-right radical, they’d gladly repeal the Enlightenment if given a chance to vote on it. Their solutions aren’t to broaden their own base, but to ensure anybody who isn’t white, conservative, fundamentalist and registered Republican is discouraged and prevented from participating in our democratically elected system of governance.

    Put more simply: They could appeal to Latinos, LGBTs, African Americans, and other minority voting groups by proposing ideas, policies, and laws these groups want. Same with young voters and woman. Or the GOP can seek to oppress, repress, and disenfranchise.

    I think we all know which way they’ve gone.

    There IS no GOP reboot. That was never more than wishful thinking.

  • cole3244

    another deal but at what cost?

  • rand503

    All that I believe is true. Although I do also believe that many people in the senate actually support us. But Ill take a victory however it comes.

    It probably won’t pass the House because of the republicans, but at least we are moving forward, and it puts them on record. This can only be good.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Gross Old Perverts seems often to be accurate.

  • FLL

    Oh, no. It’s worse than I thought. It’s a contest for coming up with GOP acronyms. The entries so far are:

    (1) Grandpa’s Old Party (from John Aravosis)
    (2) Grouchy Old Poops (from madcap69)

  • Badgerite

    Again, don’t ever let ANYONE tell you that your vote doesn’t count. That it doesn’t matter. It always matters.

  • madcap69

    Grouchy Old Poops

  • FLL

    Politicians are cynical by nature; only the very rare politician is principled. Obama is certainly no exception to that rule. The cynical political move would be to do something that would humiliate the Republicans in front of the entire nation: insist on having ENDA go through Congress rather than signing an executive ENDA order, which might distract attention from the bill in Congress. The public is overwhelming in favor of passing ENDA in Congress, and the Republicans would be forced to “show their true colors,” as you put it, and lose even more popularity than already have (just in time for the midterm elections). Cynical, but typical politics.

    Obviously, I have included inappropriate humor in my comments when I make light of commenters who kiss up to their “stupid” Republican relatives, namely, Uncle Zeke and Aunt Hattie. John, you one-upped me! GOP = Grandpa’s Old Party?! I’m sure you will be severely punished for your inappropriate humor. :)

  • Bill_Perdue

    The Democrats are making hay – trawling for votes and money – with ENDA only because they know with a certainty that it won’t pass the House (which they lost because they and Obama betrayed everyone but Goldman Sachs and friends.

    By supporting ENDA when it doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell they get money, votes and they don’t get screamed at by the Chamber or Commerce.

    At least this time they didn’t gut ENDA like Barney the Quisling did in 2007.

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