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Senate Set To Pass ENDA, House Set To Ignore It

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Early this morning, Nevada Senator Dean Heller, a Republican, announced that he would support invoking cloture in the debate over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a move that seems likely to guarantee that the bill will pass the Senate:

WASHINGTON — A measure that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal nondiscrimination law has gained its 60th supporter in the Senate, giving it what appears to be a filibuster-proof majority as a key vote looms.

Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, announced Monday that he would vote yes on the bill, known as the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, saying that after conversations with voters at home and colleagues in the Senate, he had come to the determination that “supporting this legislation is the right thing to do.”

The Senate is expected to hold a vote Monday or Tuesday to open debate on the bill, marking the first time since 1996 that a measure granting workplace legal protection to gay men and lesbians has come before the full Senate. It will be the first time that the full Senate has considered a measure that includes protection for transgender people.

Since all 55 members of the Democratic majority had said they would vote for the bill, along with four Republicans who had also expressed support, gay rights advocates and sponsors in the Senate had been waiting for one more Republican to give them the 60th vote they would need to open debate.

The bill will face other crucial tests this week before the Senate can ultimately schedule a final vote to approve it, but the first filibuster test was a pivotal hurdle.

Republicans have struggled with how to approach the measure. And those who are the most likely yes votes have been guarded about their intentions. Proponents of the bill said Monday that they remained hopeful they could persuade at least two more Republican senators to vote yes, and that they were most optimistic about Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rob Portman of Ohio, who has a gay son.

The anticipated vote comes four months after the Supreme Court invalidated a federal ban on recognizing same-sex marriages, and nearly a year after some conservative leaders warned that losses in the 2012 elections exposed the party as being out of touch with much of the country on social issues.\

Despite this development, prospects for the bill in the House appear far less optimistic, especially given today’s announcement from Speaker John Boehner that he opposes the bill, this despite the fact that many are contending that support for the bill poses a test for a Republican Party that is already dealing with backlashes due to its stance on same-sex marriage:

Political strategists and congressional aides who have been lobbying for the bill say they have received private assurances that there will be enough Republican votes to move the measure forward on Monday, but none of the senators who plan to support it want to say so publicly out of concern that they could become targets by groups opposing the measure.

In the House, the best chance for passage this year seems to be to tack the measure onto a larger piece of legislation like the National Defense Authorization Act and hope that conservatives do not revolt.

“If you’ve been told your entire career that Republican primary voters are hostile on these issues, and people have only just started to educate you otherwise,” said Jeff Cook-McCormac, a Republican lobbyist who has been pushing to get the bill enacted, “it takes a little while for that to sink in.”

While opposition appears less organized than in previous gay rights debates in Congress, senators of both parties said the emotion surrounding the issue had complicated efforts to break a Republican filibuster attempt.

One senator recalled having to explain to a colleague that the legislation would not require insurance companies to pay for sex-change operations. Another spoke of phone calls from constituents who were convinced that their children could be taught in school by men wearing dresses. And conservative groups like the Family Research Council are warning their supporters that the bill would force Christian bookstores to hire drag performers.

To break through the misinformation, supporters said, they have presented senators with polls showing that a majority of Republican voters favor protections for gay, lesbian and transgender workers. And they have made appeals to bedrock Republican principles.

“I’m a Lincoln guy,” said Norm Coleman, a Republican former senator from Minnesota who is lobbying for the bill, known as the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. “So if you go back to who we are, what we are about as a party — economic freedom, equality, the right to earn a living — this makes sense.”

Democrats are confident they will have a good outcome regardless of the final vote, and have pressed ahead despite not being absolutely certain that the bill can pass. If they succeed, it will be the first time the Senate has passed an anti-discrimination bill that protects gay men and lesbians. One failed in 1996, the last time the issue came to a vote on the floor.

And if it fails this time, Democrats will be able to frame the loss as a victory by Republican extremists.

“How can they justify voting against it?” said Barney Frank, who tried to get a nondiscrimination bill passed when he was a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts.

On it’s surface, of course, it’s hard to make a coherent political case against the ENDA. After all, we’re already living in a world where similar protections exist for people on the basis of race, gender, age, and religion. Arguing that similar protections shouldn’t be extended to people based on their sexual orientation often ends up reeking of general unfairness, especially since the argument generally is being made by people on the far-right who are bigoted against gays and lesbians to begin with.  However, Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who happens to be gay himself, makes what amounts to a very good argument against the law:

[A]t some point we do need to stop adding new groups to the parade—either that, or see freedom of association turn into a presumption of something else. At what point do we say no to future demands that protected-group status be accorded to employees based on political and controversial systems of belief, physical appearance (the “looksism” issue), family responsibilities, résumé gaps because of unemployment or other reasons, or use of lawful products or engagement in lawful activities in off hours—to name just a few of the areas that in fact have been the subject of real-world agitation in recent years? If we say yes to all, we introduce a new presumption—familiar from the prevailing labor law in parts of Europe—that no employer should be free to terminate or take other “adverse action” against an employee without being prepared to show good cause to a judge. That is exactly the goal of some thinkers on the Left, but it should appall believers in a free economy.

That’s reason enough to oppose ENDA, as I see it.

Olson raises an excellent point here. The laws that are on the books against private discrimination in employment based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and age are based on a prolonged history of discrimination against these groups As a general rule, people shouldn’t be discriminated against based on characteristics that are, in the end, in no way rationally related to the jobs they might be performing. This isn’t necessarily true of gays and lesbians, at least not on the same scale as other groups. At the same time, though, as Olsen points out, we can’t keep expanding the list of “protected” classes unless we really do want to live in a world where employers essentially have to seek permission every time they hire or fire someone. Personally, I don’t want that world at all, mostly because it’s clear that such a legal regime would end up hurting everyone because it would make employers less eager to hire anyone less they risk litigation every time they make the “wrong” decision.

Andrew Sullivan, who used to oppose ENDA and now seems to be something of a reluctant supporter pushes back somewhat against against Olsen’s argument:

The sheer weight of anti-discrimination law is so heavy and so entrenched in our legal culture and practice, no conservative would seek to abolish it. It won’t happen. And if such laws exist, and are integral to our legal understanding of minority rights, then to deny protection to one specific minority (which is very often the target of discrimination) while including so many others, becomes bizarre at best, and bigoted at worst. Leaving gays out sends a message, given the full legal context, that they don’t qualify for discrimination protection, while African-Americans and Jews and Catholics and Latinos and almost everyone else is covered by such protections. It’s foolish to stick to a principle, however sincere, in the face of this reality.

Sullivan is largely correct here, and as a political matter it would seem to me that Republicans in marginal districts or states would be well advised to think twice about voting against ENDA based on the urging of a wing of their party that is vastly out of step with the American public when it comes to the acceptable of gays and lesbians in general.  In the end, the GOP may gain more by supporting this bill than it would be standing on principle especially since, as Sullivan notes, the idea of anti-discrimination laws is now such an ingrained part of our legal system that the principled libertarian argument against them, while arguably correct, is pretty much moot as a political matter unless you’re talking to a crowd that doesn’t exactly represent the future of American politics.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    The small libertarian self that shares this progressive mind thinks that an employer should be able to hire or fire anyone he wants. That said if you are going to have exceptions they should be all inclusive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. wr says:

    Olsen’s “very good argument” against the law is nothing more sophisticated than arguing that gays shouldn’t be allowed to be married because then you’ll have man on dog sex. If a slippery slope is all you’ve got, you don’t have much.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 6

  3. C. Clavin says:

    It’s a tragedy that we need laws like this…and it’s a great thing that they are on their way to extinction.
    But they are a long way from it.
    We are freer than we were yesterday…but we’re still not free.

    In the meantime:
    The Financial Times says that Gubmint Spending is at the lowest level since WW2.
    So you’ll want to make sure not to mention that…as it flies in the face of your austerity wet-dreams.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f0e71a16-4487-11e3-a751-00144feabdc0.html#slide0

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  4. legion says:

    As a general rule, people shouldn’t be discriminated against based on characteristics that are, in the end, in no way rationally related to the jobs they might be performing. This isn’t necessarily true of gays and lesbians, at least not on the same scale as other groups.

    Really? Unless you’re actually buying in to the whole “gays = pedophiles” BS, I’d like an explanation, please.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  5. legion says:

    a world where employers essentially have to seek permission every time they hire or fire someone.

    Also, bullshit. It’s trying to build a world where you need an actual _reason_ you can support & are willing to stand behind when you fire or decide not to hire someone, rather than just a “gut feeling” about whether or not they’re skeezy.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  6. bandit says:

    Time for Obama to pander to his dipshit devotees to change the subject from his 5 years of failure

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 34

  7. KM says:

    @legion:

    I’m going to have to agree. Doug, if you’re against discriminating for reasons that their “characteristics that are, in the end, in no way rationally related to the jobs they might be performing”, what characteristics do you think LBGT individuals posses that affect their jobs that might allow that kind of legal wiggle-room?

    To be clear, what is it about *them* that may not “necessarily true” of job performance as opposed to what others perceive them as? What someone thinks of you has nothing to do with your performance on your workload in real life; what are LBGT people capable of that you feel warranted that little weasel clause above?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    So… when the House passes a measure that has zero chance of passing the Senate, it’s pointless political theater. But when the Senate passes a measure that has zero chance of passing in the House, it’s not?

    I tentatively support this measure (I want to see the details first — I’ve heard of some cases where biological males claiming “gender identity” issues and going into women’s rooms in high schools), but I’m curious about the underlying principles here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  9. C. Clavin says:

    “…change the subject from his 5 years of failure…”

    I wonder what OBL…with a hole in his forehead leaking seawater…thinks about his 5 years of failure?
    Let’s see…
    Won the Democratic Nomination from the most popular name in politics.
    Beat Republicans twice…Romney by a landslide.
    Passed a Stimulus Bill creating or saving millions of jobs.
    Passed Health Care reform…something Democrats and Republicans have been trying to do for decades.
    Rescued the Banking Industry without Nationalizing it.
    Rescued the Auto Industry without Nationalizing it.
    Saved the Economy from the Death Spiral it was left in by the previous occupant of the White House.
    Got us out of Iraq.
    Libya.
    Syria.
    Iran is being more cooperative than they have been in years.
    Improved Student Loans.
    Forget it….I’m bored.
    Obviously Bandit spends too much time sniffing the lead dogs arse to keep up with what is actually happening outside his kennel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  10. John D'Geek says:

    @legion: Try reading it this way:

    The laws that are on the books against private discrimination in employment… are based on a prolonged history of discrimination against these groups. … This isn’t necessarily true of gays and lesbians, at least not on the same scale as other groups.

    @legion: My sister works for a well known French Pharma company. It is well known within the company that the vas majority of hiring — and, consequently, firing — happens in the US. It’s just to hard to fire in France, so they just don’t take the chance.

    RE: the law: I’m for it in principle, but the devil is in the details. I can see all sorts of really bad ways for this to go … and I don’t trust Capitol Hill to get it right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. John D'Geek says:

    @C. Clavin: Ignoring the parts where you credit Obama with Bush’s accomplishments, you list Syria as an accomplishment?

    Seriously?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @ John D’Geek…
    Syria has destroyed all it’s chemical weapons. So yeah.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

  13. Rafer Janders says:

    As a general rule, people shouldn’t be discriminated against based on characteristics that are, in the end, in no way rationally related to the jobs they might be performing. This isn’t necessarily true of gays and lesbians, at least not on the same scale as other groups.

    That’s only true because while you could hide being gay or lesbian, you couldn’t really hide being black or a woman or disabled, etc., and therefore discrimination against those groups was more open and visible. If all gays and lesbians had had some physical marker distinguishing them so that they couldn’t pretend to be straight, they would have been discriminated against just as viciously — or more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  14. Hans Bader says:

    ENDA is not as bad as many bills Congress passes, but the costs of passing it still outweigh the benefits.

    For my take as a lawyer on why ENDA is misguided, see here:

    http://www.openmarket.org/2013/07/11/senate-committee-passes-enda-which-would-lead-to-meritless-litigation-and-erode-free-speech/

    http://www.examiner.com/article/enda-would-harm-free-speech-vote-against-the-employment-non-discrimination-act

    http://www.openmarket.org/2012/06/13/employment-non-discrimination-act-makes-as-little-sense-as-chemotherapy-for-a-cold/

    The ENDA bill is more costly than business realizes. As I have explained in the above linked items, (1) its superficially evenhanded attorneys fees provisions will be interpreted in a pro-plaintiff, heads-I-win, tails-you-lose way by the courts due to the Christiansburg Garment decision and its progeny (meaning that workers will recover lots of attorneys fees when they win, but companies will get nothing in attorney fees when they win and defeat meritless lawsuits), and (2) the courts may well read into its terms-or-conditions-of-employment language, and differential-treatment provisions, costly causes of action for “harassment” for comments by co-workers, including comments on religious and political issues related to sexual orientation, like same-sex marriage, that don’t reflect the employer’s own views or any homophobia on the part of the employer itself (in some cases, for comments that the employer never even learned about prior to a lawsuit).

    It’s another well-meaning but ultimately counterproductive and harmful bill to further federalize employer-employee relations. But not as costly to business as many other proposed bills expanding federal regulation of the employment setting.

    As such, it will probably become law in the next few years, if not this year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  15. C. Clavin says:

    So Hans Bader thinks that it’s important to prevent lawsuits….by keeping discrimination legal.
    The rights of those discriminated against? F*ck ‘em. They’re homos anyway.
    Let me guess? Republican?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3

  16. grumpy realist says:

    I think we’ve got enough historical examples to show what would happen in the US if we didn’t have some sort of protection for gays. The term “in the closet” wasn’t created out of nothing, y’know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  17. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. I guess Boehner’s been put in charge of the Republican “Outreach to the gay community” program….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  18. C. Clavin says:

    @ Grumpy…yes…because who better to deny gay-rights than a man with a fake orange tan who seems to cry an awful lot?

    http://media.salon.com/2012/12/boehner_cliff_rect.jpg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. al-Ameda says:

    @John D’Geek:

    @C. Clavin: Ignoring the parts where you credit Obama with Bush’s accomplishments, you list Syria as an accomplishment?

    Conservatives are confused and conflicted as to how they feel about this, right?

    I’m sure that many conservatives are disappointed that we did not go to war in Syria, nor did we have to order strikes against purported WMD sites. Conservatives seem to be disappointed that we did not bomb Syria, yet they’re happy that Putin (rather than Obama) gets credit for the apparent Syrian dis-WMD-ment going on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  20. al-Ameda says:

    @bandit:

    Time for Obama to pander to his dipshit devotees to change the subject from his 5 years of failure

    Time for you to change your medication. If Black Tar Heroin was good enough for Robert Downey Jr., it’s good enough for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  21. superdestroyer says:

    Every Republican who claimed that after homosexual marriage was legalized that “the issue will be behind us” has been shown to be a fool. Any Republican who believes that there is any benefit to giving more legal and political power to homosexuals should probably not be involved in politics.

    Any Republican who pushes for giving more political power to very liberal homosexuals is not only pushing the U.S. into being a one party state but is figuratively spitting in the faces of most Republican voters in order to curry favor with people who will never vote for any conservative or Republican.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 21

  22. grumpy realist says:

    @superdestroyer: Replace “homosexual” with “Jewish” in your rant and what do we get….?

    I’m surprised you haven’t pulled out the “stabbed in the back” argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  23. C. Clavin says:

    Only to a vile bigot like super-dooper-pooper-scooper is preventing discrimination the end of democracy.
    Thankfully racists like him/her are disappearing. Just not fast enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  24. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Any Republican who pushes for giving more political power to very liberal homosexuals is not only pushing the U.S. into being a one party state but is figuratively spitting in the faces of most Republican voters in order to curry favor with people who will never vote for any conservative or Republican.

    Sounds to me like such a Republican would be voting for greater equality under the law, would be performing a public service, and therefore would be “primary-ed out” by Republican Party leadership. Oh wait, I’m in general agreement with you … never mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  25. C. Clavin says:

    Gay-Rights are a Conservative Position.
    So it makes sense that Republicans would not be interested.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  26. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian

    So… when the House passes a measure that has zero chance of passing the Senate, it’s pointless political theater.

    No, when you do it once, it’s a failed attempt at passing legislation. When you do it 48 times, it’s pointless political theater. Even someone with a brain as addled as yours could understand the difference.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  27. superdestroyer says:

    @grumpy realist:

    One of the things that lawyers laugh about is how few discrimination lawsuits that Jews every file against non-Jews. If homosexuals were going to file as few discrimination lawsuits as Jews have filed, I doubt if conservatives were be worried very much. However, every Republican should be able to understand the massive about of mischief that a group of educated, affluent militant homosexuals can do with the ability to sue any heterosexual they take a disliking to.

    Also, I wonder if any heterosexual will ever be able to stand the massive amount of criticism and ridicule they will receive if they ever try to sue a homosexual concerning their blatant favoritism that exist in the homosexual community.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  28. rudderpedals says:

    @Hans Bader: The big problem with doing away with fee shifting is that it guts enforcement. Maybe we could do away with it if for ex the EEOC were authorized, competent and well funded so that it could act as the enforcer in lieu of the fee shifting. Employers and employees all win with a uniform, professional agency dealing with stuff like this. In the age of austerity I don’t see any regulators muscling up. Everything’s pointed towards continued self/no regulation and every man for himself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  29. superdestroyer says:

    @al-Ameda:

    The last thing that homosexuals are going to push for is true equality. What they are proposing is a legal club that can be used to attack and torment anyone who does not support them 100%. LIke I have said before, it will be humorous to her all of the progressives make excuses for militant homosexuals when those militants go after the tax exempt status of Christian churches in the U.S.

    The real message is that as the U.S. becomes a one party state and politics becomes a fight among different demographic groups inside the Democratic Party that homosexuals will be at the top of the pecking order.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 13

  30. Rafer Janders says:

    @superdestroyer:

    One of the things that lawyers laugh about is how few discrimination lawsuits that Jews every file against non-Jews.

    Speaking as a lawyer, this is not actually one of the things that lawyers laugh about. What a bizarre thing to write.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  31. Rafer Janders says:

    @superdestroyer:

    LIke I have said before, it will be humorous to her all of the progressives make excuses for militant homosexuals when those militants go after the tax exempt status of Christian churches in the U.S. The real message is that as the U.S. becomes a one party state and politics becomes a fight among different demographic groups inside the Democratic Party that homosexuals will be at the top of the pecking order.

    When the homosexuals came for the tax-exempt status of Christian churches in the U.S., I said nothing, for I was not a tax-exempt Christian church in the U.S…..

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  32. Rafer Janders says:

    @superdestroyer:

    What they are proposing is a legal club that can be used to attack and torment anyone who does not support them 100%.

    For guys like this, what’s really at root is the fear that finally, someone’s going to treat them the way they’ve been treating everyone else for the last few hundred years….

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  33. C. Clavin says:

    it will be humorous to her all of the progressives make excuses for militant homosexuals when those militants go after the tax exempt status of Christian churches in the U.S.

    I’m neither militant nor homosexual…but I long for the day this Country takes away the Tax-Exempt status of churches.
    If anyone can explain to me why the largest single land-holder in Manhattan is Tax-Exempt I’d be glad to listen. But as a Taxpayer in the 90 something percentile…good luck with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  34. C. Clavin says:

    Rafer wins.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    What is amazing is how progressives already know that lawsuits against the gay mafia will never happen. Progressives cannot imagine that homosexuals will ever discriminate against anyone when homosexuals are already begin to admit how powerful gay mafias can be in professional setting. what is amazing is that even when a gay man admitted that a gay mafia exists, the MSM ignored the story.
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77058.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  36. Rafer Janders says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Also, I wonder if any heterosexual will ever be able to stand the massive amount of criticism and ridicule

    Oh my god! Criticism and ridicule! Is there nothing these queens won’t stoop to?!?! How can an honest straight man possibly be expected to defend himself against…against criticism and ridicule?!?! We’re supposed to be exempt from that!

    WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE EXEMPT!!!!!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  37. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The biggest owners of the tax exempt property are not churches but the govenment, not-for-profit, hospital, universities, and other NGO. Churches are way down on the list. I guess it makes sense that progressives want to increase the expenses of schools and hospitals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  38. C. Clavin says:

    Super…
    Way to try and change your chosen topic, bigot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  39. Rafer Janders says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Also, I wonder if any heterosexual will ever be able to stand the massive amount of criticism and ridicule

    You know, if the gays could stand a little criticism and ridicule from the straights for a few thousand years, I think we’ll manage. After all, it’s not like we’re going to be subject to the same institutionalized discrimination, forced hospitalizations, gay-bashing, sexual abuse and outright murder they had to handle in addition to the criticism and abuse…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  40. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    YOu can take that up with the poster who wants to destroy organized religion in the U.S. Of course, that seems to be a goal of the homosexual community so it makes sense that “anti-discrimination” legislation should discuss the long term impact of institutions in the U.S. and whether the law will be applied evenly to all Americans. Based upon the comments here, it is obvious that progressive believe that the law will not be applied evenly to all Americans, that homosexuals will be free to openly discriminate while heterosexuals (and especially religious heterosexuals will have a greater threat of lawsuits, higher liability premiums and the prospect of many business being sued out of business.

    What will be odd is how an affluent, education, urban, politically powerful group like homosexuals will argue desperate impact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  41. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    What is amazing is how progressives already know that lawsuits against the gay mafia will never happen.

    The “gay mafia”? As long as they don’t force me to become Republican, I’ll do whatever they say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    How many positions can Speaker Boehner balance on the head of a pin?

    The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,

    and,

    We have always believed this is covered by existing law, . . . this is not a new issue or a new position — it’s a longstanding position, and, frankly, not ‘news’ at all.

    If it is already covered by existing law, how in the hell can it increase litigation? If it increases litigation, than obviously enough, something was not covered AND YOU DAMN WELL KNOW IT.

    Lying sack of shit. Oh, and they said the same thing about the Lilly Ledbetter law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @superdestroyer:

    LIke I have said before, it will be humorous to her all of the progressives make excuses for militant homosexuals when those militants go after the tax exempt status of Christian churches in the U.S.

    Well, I am not homosexual, but I do hate all forms of organized religion because of the way they milk their flocks for millions of tax free dollars in the most anti-christian way.

    Where do I sign up? Sounds like my kind of people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  44. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer: Here are actual figures from Jennifer Rubin, known Communist:

    In states in which sexual orientation is protected, there has not been an explosion of litigation, and the claims remain a sliver of the total number of discrimination. For example, in California in 2011, more than 18,000 employment discrimination claims were filed; a mere 727 of them were on the basis of sexual orientation, and that number has been remarkably constant over a 10-year period.

    Care to comment?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  45. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “I tentatively support this measure”

    Sure. While you figure out whether opposing it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  46. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer: From your quote:
    “There is — and I say this term with affection — a bit of a gay mafia in the city,” he said. “Simply the fact that people who are gay knew that I was gay would often be an expediter to information. That doesn’t mean I’m sleeping with them. It just means they know that I’m gay, we shared some sort of a brotherhood and therefore they’re much more likely to talk to me and tell me things that perhaps they wouldn’t necessarily tell me.”

    So, basically, people who share a common trait help each other out in a hyper-competitive environment. If that kind of things threatens American democracy, do we now need to dissolve all alumni clubs? How about fraternities and sororities? Speaking of DC, what should be done about the Family? Do you even realize how foolish you look to someone who actually read the link you just posted?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  47. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Yeah, I can totally see how your desire to be from criticism and ridicule overweighs my desire to not be fired if my boss finds out I am gay…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  48. Ron Beasley says:

    @grumpy realist: Yes, just ask Lindsay Graham.

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  49. An Interested Party says:

    It’s another well-meaning but ultimately counterproductive and harmful bill to further federalize employer-employee relations.

    And your alternative would be…?

    …a group of educated, affluent militant homosexuals…

    How exactly are they “militant”? Perhaps they are trying to recruit you…

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  50. beth says:

    So how would people feel if all the gay employers fired straight people merely because they were straight? Pretty damn lousy, huh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  51. Argon says:

    Doug:

    …as a political matter it would seem to me that Republicans in marginal districts or states would be well advised to think twice about voting against ENDA based on…

    Well, thanks to Boehner they won’t have to risk anything. He’s taken the issue off the table.

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  52. anjin-san says:

    militant homosexuals

    Are they the ones in super tight leathers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  53. C. Clavin says:

    I think it’s clear…Republicans have no interest in equal rights for all..and bigots like Super support that effort. Super then decides Republican irrelevancy is due to the gays massive political power.
    This makes sense. Bigots are above all…ignorant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  54. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I find it odd the progressives are claiming that they are for equal rights when they were in front of the Supreme Court a few weeks ago claiming that it should be illegal to outlaw quotas and affirmative action, a few months ago claiming that it was constitutional to discriminate against white students, and a few years ago that separate and unequal college admissions standards for blacks and Hispanics.

    The last thing that progressives have supported in the last 40 years is equal rights for all. It just that progressives to not care about unequal rights when the discrimination is advantageous for core groups inside the Democratic Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  55. C. Clavin says:

    Oh poor Super…the oppressed white man.
    Victim of hundreds of years of discrimination.
    You f*cking idiot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  56. dennis says:

    One senator recalled having to explain to a colleague that the legislation would not require insurance companies to pay for sex-change operations. Another spoke of phone calls from constituents who were convinced that their children could be taught in school by men wearing dresses. And conservative groups like the Family Research Council are warning their supporters that the bill would force Christian bookstores to hire drag performers.

    Anybody over 15-years-old who believes and thinks like this needs to start all over again. Maybe at 3rd grade.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  57. C. Clavin says:

    The white man is oppressed.
    The solution to gun violence is more guns.
    The answer to low revenues is more tax cuts.
    The way to stop polluters is to count on their civic responsibilty.
    We can force peace at the end of a gun.
    Dinosaurs walked alongside man.
    Seriously…Republicans are f’ing dumb.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  58. dennis says:

    If we say yes to all, we introduce a new presumption—familiar from the prevailing labor law in parts of Europe—that no employer should be free to terminate or take other “adverse action” against an employee without being prepared to show good cause to a judge.

    So, theft from the employer; poor performance; and generally other-heinous-shyt aside, it’s okay to turn out an employee into the street, taking away his/her livelihood and relegating him/her to hardship without good cause, all in the name of free enterprise? Hm. I’m wondering if you attend church and look yourself in the mirror regularly . . .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  59. CB says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Usually I give your comments a bemused chuckle, but you’re out of your ever lovin’ mind here. This is like logic for preschoolers. And bigoted. Oh the bigotry. Sad, dude.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  60. Rafer Janders says:

    @dennis:

    another spoke of phone calls from constituents who were convinced that their children could be taught in school by men wearing dresses.

    No, their children will not be taught by Catholic priests.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  61. dennis says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The last thing that homosexuals are going to push for is true equality. What they are proposing is a legal club that can be used to attack and torment anyone who does not support them 100%

    Hey, sd, are you homosexual? If not, what would you know about what the last thing they’re going to do or what they are proposing? I think you’re a White racist who is trying to make a last desperate push to keep White supremacy reigning in these United States because you just can’t stand to see someone not like you get ahead in life.

    No, not really, sd; but see how easy it is to demonize someone and concoct an unevidenced conclusion based on some whacko belief?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  62. Stonetools says:

    Doug misses the solution again. It’s not about Republicans in marginal districts somehow coming to their senses and doing the right thing. That won’t happen because those Republicans fear being primaried from their right. In any case, Boehner won’t let them vote on the bill.
    What has to happen, folks, is that the Democrats have to regain the majority in the House. Doug doesn’t like that answer because he prefers that the Republicans reform. But the Republicans aren’t going to reform. The cancer has to be cut out.
    The road to gay rights and same sex marriage goes through Democratic majorities at the state and federal level. It’s that simple.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  63. dennis says:

    @superdestroyer:

    LIke I have said before, it will be humorous to her all of the progressives make excuses for militant homosexuals when those militants go after the tax exempt status of Christian churches in the U.S.

    What an asinine statement to make. I’d like to go after that tax-exempt status of churches myself, and I’m not a militant homosexual. I’m not even a passive homosexual.

    On a related note, I’ll bet you could not care less about the tax-exempt status of other religions, though, could you? You should be real proud of me, sd; I haven’t cursed you once in two replies!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  64. bill says:

    well we do have enough “special” groups that somehow need to be protected from something. how this law would work is beyond the realm, i mean really- that you like to bang your own gender is hardly a reason for any special treatment- and that’s what these innocuous laws actually do in the end. at the end of the day this is just another way to make some lawyers richer.

    in another post the other day i remember grumpy saying something like he wished everyone had a somewhat “normal” name and just used a nickname that makes them special or so- and he’s right. you know how easy it is to toss a job application aside just because you know the race of the person already? (if that’s important to you anyway.) not like i want to hire someone named cletus either, but you get the drift.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  65. dennis says:

    @bill:

    i mean really- that you like to bang your own gender is hardly a reason for any special treatment- and that’s what these innocuous laws actually do in the end.

    bill, why would you say such a thing? Are you really that ignorant? Geez . . .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  66. jd says:

    “The laws… are based on a prolonged history of discrimination against these groups. … This isn’t necessarily true of gays and lesbians…”

    Leviticus

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  67. anjin-san says:

    I’m wondering if you attend church

    Hatin’ in Jesus name Dennis, Hatin’ in Jesus name. Amen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  68. anjin-san says:

    @ beth

    So how would people feel if all the gay employers fired straight people merely because they were straight?

    Who knows how many hetros are under the jackboots of gay oppression?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  69. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:

    YOu can take that up with the poster who wants to destroy organized religion in the U.S. Of course, that seems to be a goal of the homosexual community

    So, by opposing certain churches’ teaching that homosexuals should be treated as second class citizens they are trying to destroy organized religion in the US?
    Are you seriously of the opinion that being homosexual means you are opposed to organized religion? Are you that big an idiot?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  70. Grewgills says:

    that homosexuals will be free to openly discriminate while heterosexuals (and especially religious heterosexuals will have a greater threat of lawsuits, higher liability premiums and the prospect of many business being sued out of business.

    Wow! Why is it you assume that all religious heterosexuals are bigoted against homosexuals?
    That you are so upset over trampling of peoples liberty to trample on other people’s liberty without any sense of irony is amazing. Poe?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  71. grumpy realist says:

    @Grewgills: Maybe he’s simply upset people of his belief system can’t lynch people any more. Fine American tradition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  72. Blue Galangal says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So… when the House passes a measure that has zero chance of passing the Senate, it’s pointless political theater. But when the Senate passes a measure that has zero chance of passing in the House, it’s not?

    I believe though if Boehner let it come to the floor for a vote, it actually would pass; however, the equivalent measures to repeal Obamacare can’t muster enough votes to pass in the Senate if they did reach the floor. So ENDA actually does have a chance of passing the House if voting were to be allowed on it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @bill:

    that you like to bang your own gender is hardly a reason for any special treatment-

    Glad to hear you finally admit to the fact that the treatment straight white men receive on a daily basis is special.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  74. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    So ENDA actually does have a chance of passing the House if voting were to be allowed on it.

    And so we come face to face with the only strategy for victory the GOP has left: Stop people from voting. In the House, in the Senate, and in general elections. This is all they have left.

    Cowards.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  75. Tony W says:

    Normally I find at least some areas of agreement with other folks – even people with whom I share very little by way of background or interests.

    The Republican party is clearly working to rid me of that notion. I find it fascinating, and not a little sad, that a political party can adopt a platform that is blatantly wrong on every issue, and still enjoy moderate electoral success.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  76. dennis says:

    @Tony W:

    The Republican party is clearly working to rid me of that notion. I find it fascinating, and not a little sad, that a political party can adopt a platform that is blatantly wrong on every issue, and still enjoy moderate electoral success.

    I hear you, Tony. I sure do miss the good ol’ days of Reagan, Baker and GHWB. I was in the military in those days, so I guess I wasn’t negatively affected financially by their economic policies. A lot of people around here have schooled me on that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  77. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tony W:

    I find it fascinating, and not a little sad, that a political party can adopt a platform that is blatantly wrong on every issue, and still enjoy moderate electoral success.

    Don’t worry Tony, you are not alone. They feel exactly the same about you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  78. Rob in CT says:

    Rafer nailed this a while back:

    Oh my god! Criticism and ridicule! Is there nothing these queens won’t stoop to?!?! How can an honest straight man possibly be expected to defend himself against…against criticism and ridicule?!?! We’re supposed to be exempt from that!

    WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE EXEMPT!!!!!

    As for the more sophisticated opposition to this law – the argument about making firing more difficult means making hiring more difficult – there is likely some truth to that. HR & legal departments will most likely respond to such legislation by being extra careful, and anyone who has worked for a large company with an HR department knows how that can get silly at times. The thing is that this applies to, what, ~3% of the population? I don’t see major economic costs associated with that.

    I’d prefer, of course, that this sort of legislation not be necessary. I’d prefer that a few bad apples didn’t ruin it for the rest of us. Same with other minority protections. It would be lovely to not need them. Alas, I think we do need them.

    Will we ever not need them? A boy can dream, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  79. @superdestroyer:

    LIke I have said before, it will be humorous to her all of the progressives make excuses for militant homosexuals when those militants go after the tax exempt status of Christian churches in the U.S.

    I’m opposed to the tax-emept nature of churches, just like my good friend James Madison was:

    Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history. (See the cases in which negatives were put by J. M. on two bills passd by Congs and his signature withheld from another. See also attempt in Kentucky for example, where it was proposed to exempt Houses of Worship from taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  80. Tyrell says:

    I would have thought that the existing Civil Rights Act of 1964 would have covered this. But if not, it seems that a simple addendum to it would suffice instead of having to come up with a whole new bill.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  81. mantis says:

    I would have thought that the existing Civil Rights Act of 1964 would have covered this.

    You would have thought wrong.

    But if not, it seems that a simple addendum to it would suffice instead of having to come up with a whole new bill.

    Even if you are amending existing law, you still need to pass “a whole new bill.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  82. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    @anjin-san: But they are such pretty jackboots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  83. Lenoxus says:

    @bandit: One of the many stupid problems with this argument that “Oh, Democrats just make these laws to PANDER to random minorities” is that Republicans have been free for years now to cut the Democrats off at the pass and actually take the initiative on gay rights and other civil rights, and thus acquire at least some of those same pander-based votes. It’s not like the Democrats have a literal unfair advantage per the rules of the game

    Imagine if, instead of Joe Biden, a hypothetical GOP presidential nominee had been the one to force Obama’s hand on same-sex marriage by explicitly supporting it. S/he’d probably still massively lose the election, but it’s a fun thought experiment. (I sometimes daydream about Republicans becoming libertarian about immigration overnight, leaving Democrats to look like the xenophobic nativists in the room.)

    Unless you are actually opposed to the rights in themselves. In that case, the “pandering” is irrelevant to the merits of these laws, reduced to an analysis of the situation (one that is in a sense true by definition; all politicians want re-election) rather than an argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  84. Lenoxus says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I’d prefer that a few bad apples didn’t ruin it for the rest of us. Same with other minority protections. It would be lovely to not need them. Alas, I think we do need them.

    Will we ever not need them? A boy can dream, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Even if that unlikely day comes, the laws’ existence still doesn’t do harm. (At least, not more harm than good.) If everyone everywhere ceased to commit murder forevermore, would there be any reason to take murder laws off the books?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  85. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. It looks like Illinois is in the process of legalizing gay marriages. We’re getting it passed faster than I thought!

    Will have to ask one of my friends if he’s going to get married now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  86. bill says:

    @dennis: what, is homosexuality something else? you bang people with the same sexual parts, unless some law has changed that now! and again, it doesn’t make you “special” and in need of some sort of benefit for it.

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  87. An Interested Party says:

    …and again, it doesn’t make you “special” and in need of some sort of benefit for it.

    No, but it does entitle you to not be discriminated against simply because of what you are…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  88. Grewgills says:

    @bill:

    it doesn’t make you “special” and in need of some sort of benefit for it

    ‘Banging’ someone with different sexual parts than you doesn’t make you ‘special’ either, yet heterosexuals have the added privilege of not facing systemic discrimination, are not regularly fired for being hetero, and are allowed to marry the person they choose to ‘bang’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  89. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @bill: You’ve got to be a real d-bag to think that “you can’t be fired and have your life and livelihood disrupted if your boss finds out your gay” is a benefit as opposed to a baseline level of human decency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  90. dennis says:

    @bill:

    what, is homosexuality something else? you bang people with the same sexual parts, unless some law has changed that now! and again, it doesn’t make you “special” and in need of some sort of benefit for it.

    You can’t be that daft. Homosexuality doesn’t make one “special;” but the manner by which they are singled out for special treatment by narrow-minded bigots — yourself, for example — makes it imperative that their civil rights be protected, that they receive equal protection under the law. You know, that whole Contitution-y thing in the 5th and 14th Amendments about not being deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.

    Being Black doesn’t make one special; being Hispanic doesn’t make one special; or Asian. Being White doesn’t make one special, although in these grand ol’ United States it does. And the manner by which Whites have singled themselves out for special treatment makes it imperative that the rest of us have our civil rights protected and that we receive equal protection under the law. Just like you, mister.

    That you focus on the natural biological urges of human beings rather than on the humanity of human beings is a failure on your part to be human and speaks volumes of your flawed thinking.

    Do better, bill. Be better. Don’t you want to be better?

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  91. DrDaveT says:

    @Tony W:

    I find it fascinating, and not a little sad, that a political party can adopt a platform that is blatantly wrong on every issue, and still enjoy moderate electoral success.

    This skirts dangerously close to invoking Godwin’s Law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  92. rudderpedals says:

    What if the votes are there for a discharge petition? Then it can’t be ignored.

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