On Thursday, the House Education and Labor Committee voted out of committee H.R. 3685, the ENDA bill that does not include gender identity and, thus, does not protect transgender persons or gender expression. (Four brave Democrats stood up against the Democratic leadership, Rush Holt of NJ, Yvette Clarke of NY, Dennis Kucinich of OH, and Linda Sanchez of CA and voted no on H.R. 3685 in committee. They deserve our thanks, and praise.) By voting out H.R. 3685, H.R. 2015, the ENDA bill that included protection for gender identity died in committee.
In response to a non-inclusive bill, there has been a strong grassroots effort and tremendous pressure by LGBT and Allied organizations who are members of United ENDA and of other individuals for an inclusive version of ENDA. Representative Tammy Baldwin obtained consent from Democratic leadership to introduce an amendment to H.R. 3685 to include gender identity.
Representative Tammy Baldwin of WI will introduce an amendment on the House floor on Wednesday, October 24th, when the H.R. 3685 will come up for a vote. The amendment will insert language into the bill that would restore gender identity protections. The vote will be close, so we need to get all the support we can from Congressional members and let them know (even the ones that already support gender identity inclusion) that they need to vote in favor of the Baldwin Amendment. We need to contact our legislators by phone, email or in person. Try to schedule an in-person meeting with your representative’s staff members on Monday or Tuesday. Contact your family and friends to have them also contact their representatives.
Get onto the Equal Rights Washington (ERW) website, http://equalrightswashington.org, for talking points, to send an email to your representative or to find the phone numbers for the local offices. You can also find additional information on the United ENDA website (the GSBA is a proud member of the United ENDA coalition) at http://unitedenda.org or the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) at http://www.thetaskforce.org.