Human Rights Campaign Secures Unprecedented Commitment from House Speaker for Vote on Inclusive ENDA

by HRC Staff

HRC Works with Speaker to Develop Solution to Bring Inclusive ENDA for a Vote Once Support Is Demonstrated by GLBT Community

WASHINGTON-The Human Rights Campaign has collaborated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to craft a solution to the controversy surrounding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Today, in a meeting with HRC and other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups, Speaker Pelosi took an unprecedented step and committed to giving H.R. 2015, the fully-inclusive version of the bill, a floor vote in the House once enough support for it to pass has been secured. This commitment by the Speaker of the House is an unprecedented departure from the usual delays seen in Congress on an issue that will have already been considered by the full House.

Additionally, as the community continues to advocate and educate Members of Congress to secure enough commitments for final passage, the inclusive version of the legislation will receive committee hearings.

Although H.R. 3685, the version of the bill that provides workplace protections on the basis of sexual orientation only, will move to committee mark-up next week, Speaker Pelosi has given HRC her word that as soon as the commitments to pass a fully-inclusive ENDA are acquired, she will move that bill ahead.

"Speaker Pelosi's promise to put a fully-inclusive ENDA to a vote continues to underline HRC's passionate advocacy on behalf of the entire GLBT community," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Our strategy throughout has been to stay at the table and fight for the ultimate goal that we all share. Today, that strategy has proven to be successful. With this commitment, the inclusive ENDA bill will continue to receive legislative action as it moves through the committee hearing process during the time HRC, and other coalition organizations, continue to advocate directly with Members to support this critical inclusive workplace protection bill."

Solmonese continued, "Since the introduction of a sexual orientation only ENDA, HRC has ramped up its efforts to push for a fully inclusive ENDA that protects our whole community. Through calls to action to our supporters and frequent visits to Capitol Hill by our staff, Board of Directors and volunteers, HRC has fought hard to receive the kind of commitment that Speaker Pelosi gave us today."

HRC has generated more that 80,000 calls, e-mails, letters and visits to Capitol Hill-more than any other GLBT or allied organization.

"Now the real work begins," continued Solmonese. "We must maintain the momentum we have built up to persist in educating members of Congress and the public about issues facing the transgender community. HRC will continue to lead the lobbying and education campaign until we reach the goal we all share-workplace protections for the entire GLBT community."

Below is a background document on HRC's work to advance a fully-inclusive ENDA.

HRC: Leading the Fight for a Fully Inclusive ENDA

"HRC has been a lead organization in advocating for a trans-inclusive bill, targeting moderate members of Congress for support."
(The Advocate, September 28, 2007)

FACT: HRC, with its team of seasoned lobbyists on Capitol Hill, first started the quest for ENDA in 1994. HRC began pushing for a gender identity-inclusive bill in 2004 and was a key part of the effort to draft an ENDA that protects our entire community.

FACT: HRC launched a full-scale, nationwide call to action, urging its 750,000 members and supporters to contact their representatives and stand behind fully inclusive legislation providing the same protections to all GLBT people.

FACT: HRC's lobby team, at a key moment, descended upon Capitol Hill for a comprehensive lobbying day with over 100 people, including HRC's Board and numerous volunteers, pushing more than 130 congressional representatives to pass a fully-inclusive ENDA.

FACT: HRC's Board of Directors reaffirmed the 2004 policy supporting a fully inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The board did not support a bill that stripped out gender identity.

FACT: HRC focused grassroots organizing efforts in 40 congressional districts across the country targeting moderate members of Congress to secure its passage.

FACT: HRC launched the "10 in 10" drive, urging supporters to ask ten friends to contact congressional representatives in the next ten days.

FACT: HRC generated more than 80,000 e-mails, calls, letters and visits to members of Congress in support of the inclusive bill-more than any other GLBT organization.

FACT: HRC launched a website,, dedicated to passing a fully inclusive ENDA more than 200,000 people have visited the site since July.

FACT: HRC secured the active support of corporate America, with 52 companies joining our Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness.

FACT: HRC and its Religion and Faith Program reached out to faith leaders across the country, giving voice to thousands of people who otherwise would not be reached.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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