Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Chairman Miller, Don't Reach For That Turkey Yet!

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | November 25, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: employment discrimination, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, George Miller

An Open Letter to Chairman George Miller of the House Committee on Education and Labor, where the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is stalled while awaiting markup.

Dear Chairman Miller:

I know Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and that you are back in your home district in California to celebrate with your family and friends. But don't reach for that turkey yet. Many of my friends and family are unemployed and underemployed because of discrimination. We are wondering why you are holding up rescheduling the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in your Committee.

"Tweak" the language of the bill if you think you must, but why not get it on the schedule? How long could it take to "tweak"?

After the jump: Contact info for Chairman Miller, and The Advocate suggests that we vote on whether to scrap gender identity protections from ENDA.

I don't think this is asking much, but your Committee's office will only say that there are "no guarantees" about getting this done this year. My Thanksgiving is not looking very bright, and my winter holiday is looking very cloudy as well.

Don't you know that delaying the ENDA House vote until February, as currently seems likely because of your postponement, will place ENDA in the path of several major obstacles, including a Domestic Partner Benefits bill, a legislative logjam in the Senate, a major jobs initiative, midterm election campaigns, and a DADT repeal effort promised to begin in Spring 2010?

Please, before you reach for that turkey, get that ENDA markup back on the schedule.

Enjoy your holidays. I hope to enjoy mine.



Readers, if you'd like to tell Chairman Miller how you feel about ENDA being postponed with no date, please call the Committee on Education and Labor now, and ask that ENDA, HR 3017, be rescheduled immediately for a markup the first week in December. I think the office is open until 1. But feel free to leave a message on the voicemail.

Here's the number - dial early and often: House Committee on Education and Labor: 202-225-3725. (You can also call the toll free DC Capitol line and ask for the Committee: 866-220-0044)

There is also a petition to sign online: click here.

The Advocate has just put up a poll suggesting that we as a community vote on whether gender identity should be taken out of the bill. I couldn't believe my eyes. I'm stunned by how divisive this is at a time we should be pulling together.

Why is the Advocate suggesting that such a thing is even being considered? Leaders in both the House and Senate have assured us that no such idea would be considered. The main objections to the bill have nothing to do with gender identity, but are focused on concerns about protecting pedophiles and other sexual deviants, and religious freedom. What is with this poll? Does the Advocate think this is up for a vote?

Here's more contact info for Representative Miller. Call early and often. Please ask him to immediately reschedule ENDA, HR 3017, for a markup the first week in December.

A happy holiday to all. Let's hope we soon have something to be thankful for.

Representative George Miller:
DC: 202-225-2095
(Toll free DC Capitol line: 866-220-0044)
Richmond, CA 510-262-6500
Vallejo, CA 707-645-1888
Concord, CA 925-602-1880
(Click here for email)

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How many co-sponsors does ENDA have in the House? Enough to pass? Would a petition help?

We have 222 likely yes votes in the House by my conservative estimate. http://bit.ly/Q5YMJ

Nice. Funny how it's always the trans people that get accused of being "divisive."

I accused The Advocate of being divisive, not trans people.

Yeah, that's what I meant. Sorry if I didn't make it clear that I was slamming the Advocate, not you.

How about a petition seeking 218 supporters in the House for ENDA since that's what it will take to pass it? Would that be a good use of our community's time?

We've got 222 votes in the House by my conservative estimate. I don't think that Representatives would sign a petition, and even if they would it would take weeks.

At what point do you think all these calls become harassment? I think we're anti-harassment, right?

I can't believe (in 2009) that ANYONE makes a decision based on the number of phone calls or emails. We can do better.

Plus, putting ENDA on a "turkey," well ...

I apologize to the turkey community for any unintentional offense that I may have caused.

Haha, nice.

How does support in the Senate look? Isn't that the LGBT problem, even for ENDA?

Senate's not so good. Got 56 likely yes votes, missing 4, got 8 possibles. We might be able to do it if we squint and turn our heads to the right. Or if someone came to our rescue, like President Obama or the Knights of the Round Table.

Here's the spreadsheet: http://bit.ly/14TDll The 9 possibles are in yellow highlights on the left. The likely yeses are in the right hand column

Charlene Lauderdale | November 25, 2009 12:24 PM

Not Again!!!! I hate being thrown under the bus with no hope....

Charlene Rynee Lauderdale | November 25, 2009 12:37 PM

NOT AGAIN!!!! I hate being thrown under the bus by GAY/LESBIAN individuals...Maybe we should vote against them when it comes to same-sex marriage. See how they like being thrown under the bus for a change!

What's the point of phone banking and canvassing and voting for the fucking Democrats when they keep shitting on us? How many phone calls to their Congressman did black people make before winning the 1964 Civil Rights Act? This kind of lobbying is a DEAD END STRATEGY.

The protests were important, sure, but don't forget that the Civil Rights Act was a pet project of President Kennedy, and he was martyred, and President Johnson made it his own project, and he went to bat for it 110% and wasn't afraid to use guilt and bribes.

What President do we have on our side?

In the 1960 presidential election campaign John F. Kennedy argued for a new Civil Rights Act. After the election it was discovered that over 70 per cent of the African American vote went to Kennedy. However, during the first two years of his presidency, Kennedy failed to put forward his promised legislation.

Kennedy's Civil Rights bill was still being debated by Congress when he was assassinated in November, 1963. The new president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who had a poor record on civil rights issues, took up the cause. His main opponent was his long-time friend and mentor, Richard B. Russell, who told the Senate: "We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states." Russell organized 18 Southern Democratic senators in filibustering this bill.

However, on the 15th June, 1964, Richard B. Russell privately told Mike Mansfield and Hubert Humphrey, the two leading supporters of the Civil Rights Act, that he would bring an end to the filibuster that was blocking the vote on the bill. This resulted in a vote being taken and it was passed by 73 votes to 27.


It's 2009. History lessons are informative, but actually understanding our new world is much more valuable.

LGBT issues cannot win politically. Not now. Plus, the real goal: equality, can never be legislated or ordered. It must come from our fellow citizens. We are calling the wrong people. Call your neighbors.

We can't get past the Senate, but we waste all this time and energy with the House. Why? Practice? We've been practicing for 40 years. But, we've been playing the wrong game.

Jillian knows i appreciate her effort and that of everyone who does something to create a movement. But, sooner or later we need to admit we don't really have a movement. We are not inspired and we certainly don't believe we can actually win.

Let's hope we understand that and create a new strategy - and give people hope. Until then, we just keep getting angrier and anger doesn't work.

There's a nation-wide community conference call on Tuesday, Dec. 1st, at Noon EST - to see what actions we can take to push a vote on ENDA now.

All are welcome. To register: http://tinyurl.com/voteendanow

Dr. Weiss will be on the call to discuss strategy.

With hope low, I'm giving thanks today for activists like her and all the others who are ready to push Congress to vote on our bills and who work so hard for full equality now.

Yours in cause, Tif

There's a nation-wide community conference call on Tuesday, Dec. 1st, at Noon EST - to see what actions we can take to push a vote on ENDA now.

All are welcome. To register: http://tinyurl.com/voteendanow

Dr. Weiss will be on the call to discuss strategy.

With hope low, I'm giving thanks today for activists like her and all the others who are ready to push Congress to vote on our bills and who work so hard for full equality now.

Yours in cause, Tif