HRC, taking credit for the move, and labeling it a success, released this statement earlier tonight.
The Human Rights Campaign has collaborated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to craft a solution to the controversy surrounding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Today, in a meeting with HRC and other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups, Speaker Pelosi took an unprecedented step and committed to giving H.R. 2015, the fully-inclusive version of the bill, a floor vote in the House once enough support for it to pass has been secured. This commitment by the Speaker of the House is an unprecedented departure from the usual delays seen in Congress on an issue that will have already been considered by the full House.
Additionally, as the community continues to advocate and educate Members of Congress to secure enough commitments for final passage, the inclusive version of the legislation will receive committee hearings.
Although H.R. 3685, the version of the bill that provides workplace protections on the basis of sexual orientation only, will move to committee mark-up next week, Speaker Pelosi has given HRC her word that as soon as the commitments to pass a fully-inclusive ENDA are acquired, she will move that bill ahead.
The Task Force was quick to respond, saying:
Task Force responds to the announcement from House Speaker Pelosi to go forward with a vote on a non-inclusive ENDA:
Statement from Matt Foreman, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
"We completely disagree with this proposed strategy - it simply makes no sense. If the goal is moving an ENDA that protects all of us, passing a flawed, gay-only bill utterly undermines that objective. The notion that the House of Representatives will be willing to revisit a different ENDA before the end of the calendar year - when it has been unwilling or unable to take up a single pro-gay matter over the last 34 years - is more than implausible. We will do everything possible to convince members to end this misguided course of action."
Personally, I think Matt Foreman's making sense here. While a promise from the Speaker to introduce the inclusive bill if enough support is found is certainly a positive development, I also have to wonder if this isn't simply a way for HRC to be able to show off at least some kind win in support of the transgender community, and for Congressional supporters of the non-inclusive bill to attempt to quell this outpouring of community support for transgender inclusion by declaring a victory and hoping that at least some of the army doesn't read too much into it and goes home.
It's hard, for me at least, to follow the logic of promising to introduce an inclusive version of a bill when you're already actively moving a different, non-inclusive version through committee and markup. The only way this strategy makes sense is if you really have no intention of trying to get the inclusive version passed in the first place.
I suppose we should be happy that we've made Congress blink, but I'm just having a whole lot of trouble thinking of this as a victory, how about you?
UPDATE: Donna Rose has posted a message she received from someone she describes as a "trusted activist friend" on her ENDA page:
You may have seen the following release from the Human Rights Campaign. Please do NOT be distracted by this release.
This is NOT a win. Our sources in Congressional offices are telling us that HRC is ACTIVELY LOBBYING for the non-inclusive bill despite what they are telling us, their members and the press. I have personally heard from friends of mine who work for HRC who are distraught over this tactic. Additionally, this week we have been working with Congresswoman Baldwin on securing Members to a) support HR 2015 and b) oppose any Republican motion to recommit (the fear of losing Democrats on this vote was the excuse given to move the substitute bill).
While we have had great success in securing support, the Members who have not given their support to opposing a motion to recommit have told us they won't give their support because they are hearing double-speak from certain influential individuals and certain influential organizations.
Again, this is NOT a win. This is a creative way of praising individuals for trying to kill HR 2015.
To my knowledge, this information has not yet been verified.