Michael Crawford

Barney Frank: Amend ENDA

Filed By Michael Crawford | October 19, 2007 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barney Frank, Congress, gay rights, LGBT, lgbt rights

Rep. Barney Frank issued the following statement urging his congressional colleagues to support an amendment by Rep. Tammy Baldwin to add gender identity to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. A sexual orientation only version of ENDA was passed by the House Education and Labor Committee yesterday by a vote of 27-21.

Statement is after the jump.

News release from Barney Frank
Congressman, 4th District, Massachusetts
2252 Rayburn Building * Washington, D.C. 20515 * (202) 225-5931
October 19, 2007

CONTACT: Joe Racalto 202-225-5931
Steven Adamske 202-225-7141


Congressman Barney Frank is urging his colleagues to vote for the amendment to be offered by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin to include transgender individuals in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act when it is considered on the House floor.

"The decision to offer such an amendment came out of a Caucus which Chairman George Miller held of the Democratic Members of the Education and Labor Committee. After some discussion, it became clear that offering such an amendment would offer us the best chance to achieve Speaker Pelosi's goal of adopting in the House the most inclusive ENDA bill for which majority support existed.

"I argued in favor of transgender inclusion when I testified on the original legislation on September 5, but many of us believed that sending the full inclusive bill to the floor would open the door to a series of demagogic procedural moves that would have endangered our chances of a passing any bill at all. The discussion held by the Democratic Members of the Education and Labor Committee, Congresswoman Baldwin and myself resulted in this approach and I believe it meets the goal of giving people the opportunity to support a fully inclusive bill while avoiding the potential parliamentary death traps that would otherwise have resulted. I will on the floor of the House be repeating essentially the arguments in favor of transgender inclusion which I made in the September 5 hearing, because we will now be able to do that in a procedural setting that allows us to maximize support for an inclusive bill without endangering our
chances of getting any bill at all."

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Nothing will please me more than being proved wrong about the sincerity of Congressman Frank's commitment to including gender identity in ENDA. The cynic in me - based on Frank's recent and historical actions - says that this is just an effort to recapture votes for an orientation-only ENDA that have been lost due to the UnitedENDA lobbying effort. It is difficult to believe that he is genuinely in support of the amendment when he has devoted so much time and energy lately to advocating an orientation-only ENDA as the only prudent course and denigrating anyone and everyone who disagrees with him.

The optimist in me hopes that my cynicism is misplaced and that he really is 100% committed to this effort.

Yes - after I've poisoned the well let me correct the view some have of me.

I really, really support this. That's why I took gender identity out of the bill. That's why I spent the last two weeks undermining efforts to include. It was so I could have this opportunity to insure its inclusion.

But - let history show - It wasn't that I was against including transgender people that caused their exclusion. You can tell that by how many Congresspeople who voted on this issue say they rely on my advice to tell them how to vote. Admiral Sestak - Take a bow.

See - I supported it. Just look at this press release. Pay no attention to my previous actions or statements. Or to my 15 years of opposition to this. This little piece of paper should cover all of that. It's made from fig leaves, dontcha know.

What a weasel.