Alex Blaze

Indiana Equality email blasts for hate crimes, but don't expect action on ENDA

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 17, 2009 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics, The Movement

Got this in my inbox yesterday:

Senate Vote on Matthew Shepard Act!
Dear Alex,

Contact Your Senators Today!

The full Senate is scheduled to vote -- this week -- on the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, so Indiana's Senators need to hear from you now! Please send an email and, if you have a couple extra minutes, please call each of your Senators, too.

Every hour of every day, at least one hate crime offense is committed somewhere in the United States. Of those attacked, it's estimated that at least 15% of hate crimes are related to a person's perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. Click here to tell your Senators this is unacceptable.

The Matthew Shepard Act gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence. It protects people based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Please take action today and let your Senators know this bill is important to you!

Thank you for making a difference!

This is all good stuff. The email links to an email generator to send messages to Bayh and Lugar. It'd be great if they did it for other legislation, but here's IE's position on ENDA:

Anything less than full inclusion is unacceptable. Accordingly, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (END) as currently proposed, cannot be accepted, supported or promoted by Indiana Equality.

Well, there you go. Even though Indiana doesn't have job protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the state's largest LGBT organization won't be helping out with trying to get those protections through the federal government.

And help is needed in Indiana. According to Jillian Weiss's Inclusive ENDA Facebook Group, Rep. Steve Buyer, Rep. Brad Ellsworth, Rep. Joe Donnelly, Rep. Peter Viclosky, Sen. Evan Bayh, and Sen. Dick Lugar still haven't taken a position on ENDA. That's 4 possible House votes and 2 Senate votes that could be worked on from here in Indiana.

This is why IE's decision to sit this fight out is disappointing. These protections aren't going to happen through the Indiana legislature. The last time such legislation was introduced in Indiana it didn't even get a hearing. The best way to get them for LGBT Hoosiers is through the federal government, and none of the undecided members of Indiana's House and Senate delegations are completely unmovable.

There should be a local org working on them, and that should be Indiana Equality's role. We have an opportunity to get ENDA passed, but an entire state sitting on the sidelines can hurt that effort.

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