We know that everyone has been waiting to hear from HRC about the status of ENDA. A lot has changed since Wednesday.
Besides trying to ensure that the Senate beat the filibuster on Hate Crimes—an achievement which can not get lost in this controversy—we've spent the last 48 hours gathering information and using all of our resources to stay on top of very fast-moving developments on ENDA. Rather than issue public statements and alerts while there was still a chance to make the situation better, HRC chose instead to engage directly with allies on Capitol Hill in an effort to save an inclusive ENDA.
During this entire campaign to win an inclusive ENDA, we have been guided by the principle of trying to achieve the end result the fastest way possible. Without question, that result has been—and continues to be—an inclusive ENDA that covers the entire GLBT community. We will continue to use that as our benchmark as we move forward in this process.
Unfortunately, we now know what we're facing. The decision has been made, according to statements from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Frank issued this afternoon—the House will consider a version of ENDA that does not include gender identity.
This is not what any of us wanted, and certainly not what we’ve been fighting for. But, it has been made clear that the House leadership and bill sponsors are moving forward with a non-inclusive ENDA even without the full support of our community. They view this as the best opportunity they will have this year to help the largest number of people—and have stated that they do not intend to miss this opportunity.
Passing an inclusive ENDA is the right thing to do for our community, our economy and our country. However, we're facing a stark reality.
House leadership and the bill's sponsors very firmly believe that if the House votes on an employment non-discrimination bill without gender identity, that legislation will pass—again, it will pass even without the support of the GLBT organizations.
After trying everything at our disposal to change this outcome, we are just beginning to come to terms with what that means.
Since 2004, the Human Rights Campaign’s policy has been to only support civil rights legislation that is inclusive of gender identity. That's why we fought tirelessly for and won Congressional approval for a fully inclusive hate crimes bill. We’ve been fighting to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for more than a decade. The breaking news that the House has decided to move forward on a non-discrimination bill that is not inclusive of gender identity is devastating. The Human Rights Campaign remains dedicated to the fight for full equality for our entire community and, in light of this new reality, continues to consult with members of Congress and our lobbyists to determine how we can achieve that goal.
This has been a long battle. HRC first started the quest for ENDA in 1994. We've been pushing for an inclusive bill since 2004. Within two weeks, ENDA could pass the House for the first time in history, but not as an inclusive bill.
Originally posted on HRC Back Story.