There's some hope and a lot of out-of-touchness in this article on a recent meeting between state LGBT orgs and the White House, but let me zoom in on the part about ENDA:
Tchen said that the administration was prioritizing DADT over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) because it could attach DADT to other legislation, making it much easier to move through Congress. By contrast, ENDA -- which would outlaw employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression -- is stand-alone legislation that faces more congressional hurdles. In the current political climate, securing a firm commitment of 60 Senate votes to support ENDA is proving far more difficult than the administration anticipated. These obstacles have not, Tchen claimed, diminished President Obama's support for the legislation.
Acknowledging that some LGBT advocates are quite frustrated with the president's progress on equality issues, Tchen urged statewide leaders to let the White House know when their constituents are displeased.
Let me save those statewide leaders some time: the constituents are displeased.
"When you are frustrated, "she stated, "you should speak out and hold our feet to the fire."
This reminds me of Pelosi's recent statement on ENDA: "Make me." I don't know what she meant by that, since we've been talking up a storm about it, marching, calling, etc. Unless she wants us to actually turn violent, there really isn't much room to increase pressure on politicians themselves.
Considering the excellent numbers ENDA gets when polled, the pressure for that has to be put on the politicians themselves. The Democrats in Washington are more homophobic than their constituents and, while it's not fashionable to say that you're in favor of homos getting fired because being gay is icky, it's what they believe and my guess is they're letting Congressional leadership know they don't want to take votes on stand-alone LGBT legislation.
I don't see why they can't get creative and make ENDA part of a larger bill. DADT really doesn't have much to do with the Defense Department's budget other than that it's the Defense Department that's involved in both. Why not add ENDA to a jobs bill?Who knows when the next one is coming, but is there anyone in the Senate who'd vote for a jobs bill but would reject the entire thing over ENDA?
Anyway, the White House, for all their "speak out" and "make me" talk, actually doesn't take to kindly to us speaking out:
Bond asserted, "There is still a lot of work to do" before DOMA will be repealed. "Look at the trouble we're having with ENDA." he added. But Bond conceded that there are inconsistencies in President Obama's positions.
In response, Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, stated, "Respectfully, we need President Obama to push for full inclusion of the LGBT community on ENDA, on marriage -- we need the full get, not the lesser get. The highest office in the land sets the tone for the whole country." Bond agreed, but expressed frustration at the often-intense criticism levied, particularly by bloggers, against an administration that is "99 percent supportive of your issues."
Some people are organizing around this statement (click the link to find an easy way to send a message), trying to get the White House on board for same-sex marriage. I don't really know why - Obama can be supportive of an issue without anything moving. Take ENDA for example. Obama's been supportive of that for years and it can't even get a vote in the House. Changing his opinion on marriage won't do much for that either other than get rightwingers to stop comparing themselves to him on that issue.
As I said above, there was some hope in Kerry Eleveld's article, including several pages of administrative and bureaucratic changes. The whole thing is worth a read if you're keeping up on these issues. We've heard about these before, but seeing them all together does show that some things do change with a Democratic administration.
Kenny said Jeremy Bishop from the Department of Labor discussed funding opportunities that Kenny didn't know were newly available to HIV/AIDS organizations.
"He talked about all the requests for proposals that the office sends out and that the LGBT community isn't even on the list for," Kenny explained. "So they're proactively trying to assemble appropriate LGBT organizations in order to invite them into the process."
Kenny said he immediately forwarded the information about grants worth about $500,000 to $1.5 million to two Florida HIV/AIDS groups.
"That's a lot of money for an HIV/AIDS organization that's struggling to get by," he said.[...]
Although none of the information discussed was entirely new, Broaddus said it was an important educational opportunity about information she wished were available to more people.
"We did ask, 'Why isn't the administration doing more to let people know about the things we're learning in our briefing today?'" she said. "They acknowledged that they hadn't done a good job of getting that out."
But by and large, Broaddus and Kenny walked away feeling like the government is doing a lot of under-the-radar work on behalf of the community.
"The point is, there's a lot going on in the way the government is approaching LGBT people that's very different and that will have a long-term impact," said Broaddus. "It's changing the conversation in government throughout all levels of government."
Kenny noted that he got the sense they were literally going through the federal government code "line by line" to see what could be addressed.
I look at liberal nonprofits talking about how great Democrats are with a jaundiced eye, but that'd be a positive development if those HIV/AIDS orgs get those grants.