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Carney: ENDA would make executive order ‘redundant’

LGBT advocates pounce on notion that directive unnecessary if law enacted

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White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, Gay News, Washington Blade
Jay Carney, White House, gay news, Washington Blade

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he believes an executive order would be redundant with ENDA in place. (Washington Blade file photo by Damien Salas)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday he believes passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would make “redundant” an executive order barring LGBT discrimination among federal contractors — an assertion that advocates say is untrue as they continue to press for both legislation and the directive.

Carney made the remarks in response to a question from the Washington Blade on whether passage of ENDA — which has already passed the Senate, but remains pending in the House — would change the thinking of President Obama on the executive order, which he continues to withhold despite continued pressure from LGBT rights supporters.

“I think if the law passed — and I’m not a lawyer — and I haven’t read every sentence of the law, but I think if a law passed that broadly banned this kind of employment discrimination, it would make redundant an executive order,” Carney said.

Carney articulated his belief that an executive order would be “redundant” in the event ENDA became law after emphasizing the broad-based protections under the bill, which applies not just to federal contractors, but to many public and private employers.

“I think the employment non-discrimination legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would broadly apply, and that’s one of the reasons why we support it,” Carney said. “Because it’s a broad solution to the problem, and it ought to be passed by Congress.”

When the Blade pointed out there are possible instances of LGBT discrimination that ENDA wouldn’t cover, but may be covered under the executive order, Carney called such potential acts of anti-LGBT job bias “hypothetical.”

“Well, that could be, hypothetically, but I think we’d like to see the legislation passed,” Carney said. “That would be a good thing.”

LGBT advocates disputed the notion that an executive order barring LGBT discrimination would be redundant if ENDA were law, saying both are necessary to enable greater legal protections for LGBT workers.

Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, said his organization is directly at odds with Carney’s assertion and blasted the White House spokesperson for being “completely out of step.”

“We couldn’t disagree more,” Sainz said. “Even if ENDA passed tomorrow, we’d still want the EO. His assertion is completely out of step with over 60 years of social change strategy related to enduring legal protections for race and gender and more recently for hate crimes and non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. What he’s asserting is the equivalent of saying that if ENDA passed tomorrow, we wouldn’t need non-discrimination laws in the majority of states that still don’t have them. That’s absolutely not the case.”

Other categories for individuals — race, color, religion, sex or national origin — are protected under current law by Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and by Executive Order 11246, which is enforced by the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance. Both were put in place under former President Lyndon Johnson.

Ian Thompson, legislative representative of the American Civil Liberties Union, said both ENDA and an executive order are needed to provide “parallel protections” for LGBT people enjoyed by other categories of workers.

“Race discrimination, for example, is prohibited under both Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Executive Order 11246,” Thompson said. “It’s certainly our opinion and our view that the same should apply to LGBT workplace discrimination as well. Even if ENDA were to be passed and signed into law tomorrow, we would still advocate for and want the executive order, and absolutely, definitely do not see it as redundant.”

Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, also insisted that legislation and an executive order are necessary to provide full protections to LGBT workers.

“We need both,” Carey said. “We urge the president to use his power and act immediately with an executive order that protects millions of LGBT employees who work for federal contractors and we urge Congress to follow the lead of the Senate and pass ENDA. Rights delayed are rights denied.”

One difference between the executive order and ENDA would be the enforcement mechanism. If ENDA were law, anti-LGBT discrimination would be still be allowed by small businesses, or companies with fewer than 15 employees, as well as by religious organizations in a broader way than other groups because of ENDA’s religious exemption. But if an executive order were in place — and modeled after the existing executive order barring discrimination among other groups — companies exempt under ENDA could face penalties as long as they do $10,000 a year in business with the U.S. government.

According to Freedom to Work, under ENDA, a victim must first file a complaint with the EEOC before an investigation into anti-LGBT workplace discrimination can take place. But under the executive order, the Labor Department could proactively investigate a company for such discrimination — even if no complaint were filed. In fact, the Labor Department regularly conducts audits of federal contractors to determine if they’ve engaged in discrimination under the current directive.

Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, took Carney to task, saying he’s incorrect and apparently unfamiliar with the Obama administration’s work against employment discrimination.

“When he calls the executive order ‘redundant,’ Mr. Carney is wrong on the law, and surprisingly, he’s even wrong on the facts about the Obama administration’s own successful record enforcing the existing executive order banning racial and sex discrimination at federal contractors,” Almeida said. “In order to have full equality under the law, LGBT Americans need both the statute and the executive order because they have distinct enforcement procedures, and more discrimination can be prevented when both policies work in tandem.”

Almeida added that Carney should consult with “dedicated public servants” at the Labor Department, which, among other victories, under Executive Order 11246 recently won a $2.2 million settlement with federal contractor Cargill in a set of hiring discrimination cases on behalf of nearly 3,000 African-American, Latino and female job applicants — even with a law barring this discrimination in place.

“LGBT Americans deserve these same workplace protections that the Obama Labor Department has been enforcing for other hardworking Americans,” Almeida said. “There’s no good reason to leave only the LGBT community out of the workplace protections that have been applied by the Labor Department to everyone else.”

Also during the briefing, Carney responded to an email from Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias in which he told LGBT donors on an off-the-record listserv the executive order should be signed and its absence is “frustrating and perplexing.”

“I think that there are lot of strongly held views on these matters,” Carney replied. “The president believes very strongly in employment non-discrimination. That’s why he has urged Congress to act on the ENDA legislation. We’ve seen some progress on that. It needs to be completed. Those who oppose it are standing in the way of history and they’ll look foolish in the future as future generations look back at that stance and recognize it for what it is. I just don’t have any updates for you on the EO that you mentioned.”

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Rebecca Juro

    April 3, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Utter bullshit. If the President really believed in workplace non-discrimination he'd have signed the EO already. What Obama and the Dems really believe in is using ENDA as a carrot on a stick to drive voters to the polls in November, not actually passing the bill into law. Carney is a liar, and now, everyone knows it.

  2. Stephen Clark

    April 4, 2014 at 12:35 am

    If a law makes the EO redundant, why hasn't the President rescinded the EOs on race, sex, religion, age, and disability, which are all also protected by laws? Because the EO is not redundant, as they damn well know. This baldface lying has reached a level beyond ridiculous.

    If there are strong views on both sides, I'd like a disclosure of the identity of the bigot who is strongly opposing the EO and is being coddled and placated by the administration.

  3. brian

    April 3, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    “If a law makes the EO redundant, why hasn’t the President rescinded the EOs on race, sex, religion, age, and disability, which are all also protected by laws?” -Stephen
    ======================================================
    Yet more WH hypocrisy. The President has no concern for all the LGBT federal contracts job seekers who will never get a chance to compete fairly. They won’t have a chance to be made “redundant” with so much as a first job. That’s apparently thank’s to a lame duck’s political worries.

  4. Hominy Bear

    April 4, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Hillary? LOL! Nah she won’t issue on EO neither! LMBO!

  5. Will Kohl

    April 4, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Carney should tell that to President Johnson and Roosevelt that signed the EO's so that black ppl couldn't be discriminated in the armed forces or by companies that had federal contracts BEFORE the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This is such a crock of shit and such a a slap in the face to the LGBT Community by Obama.

  6. Phyllis Nowacki

    April 5, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Let congress do their work and remember those who did not vote for ENDA if defeated that force an executive order

  7. Kelly Glanney

    April 12, 2014 at 7:11 am

    I dont really understand how can Obama pass EDNA into law when the Dems don't have the numbers in Congress, Rebecca?

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Politics

Pete Buttigieg calls out Tucker Carlson over attack

Fox News host mocked transportation secretary over paternity leave

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (Washington Blade file photo)

Appearing remotely on MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace’s politics program Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson for the attack on his parental leave.

“This attack is coming from a guy who has yet to explain his apparent approval for the assassination of Harvey Milk, ” Buttigieg said.

During his Thursday evening program Carlson said, “Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child—paternity leave, they call it—trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went. But now he’s back in office as the transportation secretary and he’s deeply amused, he says, to see that dozens of container ships can’t get into this country.”

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En Espanol

‘Mercenarismo’: El delito que la Seguridad del Estado de Cuba usa para presionar al activista LGBTQ Raúl Soublett

Se realizó la interrogación el 9 de octubre

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Raúl Soublett López ((Foto cortesía de Twitter de María Matienzo)

Tremenda Nota es el socio mediático del Washington Blade en Cuba. Esta nota salió en su sitio web el 9 de octubre.

LA HABANA — El activista LGBTIQ+ Raúl Soublett López fue amenazado este sábado durante una entrevista con la Seguridad del Estado con un proceso penal por “mercenarismo”.

“Cualquier tipo de lucha en #Cuba puede ser criminalizada. A Raúl Soublett López ahora lo quieren procesar por mercenarismo y la notificación se la hace un tipo que tiene tanto miedo que no da ni su nombre real”, denunció la periodista María Matienzo en sus cuentas de Facebook y Twitter.

Según Matienzo, el argumento de la Seguridad del Estado para probar el «mercenarismo» de Raúl Soublett es una serie de videos contra el racismo y la homofobia que produjo el activista.

Al menos uno de esos videos fue publicado por Tremenda Nota.

Camino al Código de las Familias, uno de los videos de Raúl Soublett señalados por la Seguridad del Estado como “mercenarismo”

La Alianza Afro-Cubana, una organización independiente que coordina el propio Soublett, informó este viernes que el activista había sido citado en la mañana del sábado para una entrevista con “agentes de la Seguridad del Estado” en una unidad de policía ubicada en Playa, La Habana.

En coincidencia con la citación, este sábado Raúl Soublett debió asistir a la universidad, donde cursa el último año de una licenciatura en Pedagogía.

María Matienzo advirtió en Facebook que “las citaciones con menos de 72 horas de antelación son ilegales también”.

El mismo día que citaron a Soublett, el presidente Miguel Díaz-Canel se reunió con activistas LGBTIQ+ y funcionarios del Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (Cenesex). Malú Cano, la coordinadora de la red TransCuba, que fue una de las invitadas, calificó el encuentro como una evidencia de la “voluntad política de avanzar en el reconocimiento de los derechos de las personas LGBTIQ+”.

Matienzo, que también es lesbiana, observó la coincidencia entre ambos incidentes.

“Ante una comunidad #LGTBIQ que se reúne con el poder en #Cuba, quieren procesar al activista @RaulSoublett”, observó en Twitter.

El propio Soublett posteó en Facebook: “Mientras hay activistas LGBTIQ+ que no se les escuchan, que los acosan, los citan para interrogatorios ilegales, en fin. Esa es la Cuba de ponle corazón. Hipócritas”.

El pasado 25 de febrero, Raúl se reunió con la Seguridad del Estado y acabó autoagrediéndose como resultado de la presión.

“Fue interrogado por más de cuatro horas, según me describe las cuatro horas más horribles de su vida, en la cual usaron los más bajos recursos de intimidación, chantaje, coacción y sobre todo mucha violencia tanto psicológica como verbal”, relató en esa ocasión el periodista Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho.

Según el Código Penal vigente en Cuba, el delito de “mercenarismo” consiste en incorporare “a formaciones militares integradas total o parcialmente por individuos que no son ciudadanos del Estado en cuyo territorio se proponen actuar” a cambio de “un sueldo u otro tipo de retribución material”. 

Las sanciones previstas para estos casos son hasta 20 años de cárcel o muerte. 

Un experto en Derecho consultado por Tremenda Nota, que pidió reservar su identidad, considera que “esta amenaza no pasa de ser un recurso de tortura psicológica”.  “Ese delito es improcedente en este caso y eso sería obvio para cualquiera”, añadió. 

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Texas

Texas House approves anti-trans youth sports bill

HB 25 now heads to state Senate

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GenderCool Project leader and Trans activist Landon Richie (Photo courtesy of Landon Richie)

Texas House Republicans were able to push through the anti-trans youth sports measure Thursday evening after hours of emotional and at times rancorous debate, passing the bill in a 76-54 vote along party lines.

Under the provisions of Texas House Bill 25, all trans student athletes in grades K-12 will be prohibited from competing on sports teams aligned with their gender identity. The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.

The Texas Tribune reported that the University Interscholastic League, which governs school sports in Texas, already requires that an athlete’s gender be determined by the sex listed on their birth certificate. Republican Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, the author of HB 25 has said the bill would simply “codify” existing UIL rules.

However, UIL recognizes any legally modified birth certificates. That policy could accommodate someone who may have had their birth certificate changed to match their gender identity, which can sometimes be an arduous process.

HB 25 would not allow recognition of these legally modified birth certificates unless changes were made because of a clerical error. It’s not clear though how it will be determined if a birth certificate has been legally modified or not. According to the UIL, the process for checking student birth certificates is left up to schools and districts, not the UIL the Tribune reported.

“To say that tonight’s passage of HB 25 is devastating is an understatement. For the past 10 grueling, exhausting, and deeply traumatic months, trans youth have been forced to debate their very existence—only to be met by the deaf ears and averted eyes of our state’s leaders,” Landon Richie, a GenderCool Project leader, University of Houston student and Transactivist told the Washington Blade after the vote.

“Make no mistake: This bill will not only have detrimental impacts on trans youth, who already suffer immense levels of harassment and bullying in schools, but also on cisgender youth who don’t conform to Texas’s idea of ‘male’ or ‘female.’ To trans kids everywhere: you belong, you are loved, you are valued, you are deserving of dignity, respect, care and the ability to live freely as your true and authentic selves, no matter where you are. We will never stop fighting for trans lives and a future where trans kids are unequivocally and unwaveringly celebrated for who they are,” Richie said.

“The cruelty of this bill is breathtaking, and the legislators who are pushing it forward are doing irreparable harm to our state. Texas is a place where people value freedom and respect for diversity. This bill is a betrayal of those cherished values, and future generations will look back on this moment in disbelief that elected officials supported such an absurd and hateful measure,” Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights told the Blade. “The families of these kids deserve better, and the burden is now on the rest of us to do everything in our power to stop this dangerous bill now,” he added.

During the debate on the measure, state Rep. James Talarico, (D-Round Rock), a former middle school teacher, began his remarks by apologizing to the trans kids and families who have gone to the Capitol time and time again this year. He tells the chamber he speaks now as a legislator, and educator, and a Christian.

He quoted Republican Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, the author of HB 25 who said “if one girl wins a game, it’s worth it.” He says he has a different moral yardstick. “If one trans kid dies for a trophy, this bill is grotesque.”

He ended speaking to his “fellow believers” in the chamber. “The worst part in these hearings have been in hearing the Bible used against trans kids to support these bills. Even tonight, ‘God’s law’ was used to present an amendment.” He then quoted the first two lines of the Bible, where God is referred to with two different Hebrew words, one masculine/one feminine. “God is non-binary.” He then prevented an interruption in the chamber and continued telling trans kids that he loves them.

Fellow Democratic state Rep. Jessica González, (D-Dallas County), vice-chair of the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus asked the chamber how many trans Texas kids they are willing to hurt. She reminded her fellow representatives that cisgender women and girls will also be hurt by the bill. She shared a personal story about being outed in high school by a friend, having her locker, home, and car vandalized and losing all of her friends. “Kids are cruel.”

González told lawmakers that her brother encouraged her to try out for soccer, and she was bullied with comments like “shouldn’t she be trying out for the boys’ team.” She went from feeling a bit accepted to being an outsider again. She then reflected on carrying those feelings into adulthood and said that this bill will have long-term affects on trans kids. She asked legislators to listen to the stories of the trans kids who have bravely testified, saying kids will contemplate suicide or complete suicide.

Representative Diego Bernal, (D-San Antonio), told the chamber that some representatives can’t wrap their heads around knowing that there is no problem but there is *real* harm to trans kids, and for whatever reason, that’s not enough it seems to stop moving these bills.

He said that he has heard “if they already have mental health issues and suicide ideation, this can’t make it worse” and “if the debate is harming them, let’s just vote.” The he breaks down the Texas statute’s definition of bullying, telling lawmakers, “The bullying statute doesn’t have an intent requirement. It doesn’t matter if you don’t mean to cause them harm. We are bullying these students. Know that by law … our own definitions and our own words, we are. And we don’t have to.”

“Texas lawmakers voted today to deliberately discriminate against transgender children. Excluding transgender students from participating in sports with their peers violates the Constitution and puts already vulnerable youth at serious risk of mental and emotional harm,” Adri Perez, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas said in a statement to the Blade.

“There is no evidence that transgender kids pose any threat. It is indefensible that legislators would force transgender youth and their families to travel to Austin to defend their own humanity, then blatantly ignore hours of testimony about the real damage this bill causes. Trans kids and their families deserve our love and support—they’ve been fighting this legislation for months. Texans will hold lawmakers accountable for their cruelty,” she added.

The statewide LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Texas in a tweet after the vote said; ” We will not stop fighting to protect transgender children.” Then added “We’ll continue to educate lawmakers—replacing misinformation with real stories—and demand the statewide and federal nondiscrimination protections we need to prevent further harms.”

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