I’m happy to see that the senate has chosen to pass the employment non-discrimination act. The process the bill underwent has already told us two things about the current congress: The attitude towards LGBT people as a whole has greatly improved, but the tea party will use this change as a wedge issue to keep house republicans in line.
The last time we tried to pass ENDA, it died in the senate. That failure not only demonstrates how different the current senate is, but also how individual senators have changed.
lets take a minute to talk about Senator Barney Frank. In 2007, the democratic senator from Massachusetts separated the gender identity protection from the bill.
I believe that a strategy of going forward with a transgender inclusive provision, that would certainly be stricken at some point in the procedure by a vote in the House, would be a mistake.
This move is a sad reminder that the majority of the LGBT community – the minority-majority of gays and lesbians – have been willing to overlook the transgender community to secure their own rights; we can still see this when facing the issue of transgender service members. While DADT was fiercely fought by all members of the LGBT community, we have heard much less support for transgender rights in the military. The relationship between the LGB and the T has been largely formed out of convenience.
Thankfully this seems to be changing. Not only are organizations like the Human Rights Campaign dedicating more resources to fight for transgender equality, but the same senators that allowed the removal of transgender protections in ENDA have changed their tune.
Where do we need to go? We need to create a lot more empathy for transgender Americans. Back to Barney Frank.
As the only openly gay member of the senate, I would hope that Frank would recognize two things. One, he doesn’t really need to worry about reelection anymore. and two, its up to him to champion LGBT rights in the senate. And while he has put in some leg work, he still worries me as being quick to turn on the trans community. He has been especially reluctant to back public accommodations for transgender individuals and parroted trans-phobic attitudes surrounding the issue.
Sadly, I am sure ENDA will not survive the house. Any Republican who votes for this act will be putting themselves in the right’s cross-hairs. Because issues regarding LGBT rights make for an easy tool to rally up conservative electorates, I don’t think many Republicans will risk the bill. I would like to believe that many would if not for threat of primary challengers.
The Republican party can no longer focus on it’s long term survival as a party. Rather than reflect public opinion and win more races, republicans have chosen to attack and unseat senators and congressmen for personal gain. If a candidate can find the financial backing – which is easier than every – then he can be a primary challenger.
Republican politics is no longer a machine; elections are an open field and marked by chaos and mass appeals.
The democratic electorate still has a framework. There are institutions to work through like city wards and unions. Traditional machine politics still works in democratic hubs. Rank and file matters.
But the republican party can’t keep things straight at the highest levels. John Boehner is constantly under attack from congressman in his own party who want his job as Speaker of the House. Republicans no longer have the concentrated will they need to succeed.
That’s why I think, as it currently exists, the Republican party is terminal.
Until something changes though, governance is going be become far more difficult. I also believe that ENDA will require the democrats to force it down the tea party’s throat.
looks like the Dems could use some of that old-fashioned GOP willpower.