Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Getting to ENDA: The road less traveled
Second of two parts
by Dana Rudolph, Keen News Service
2011-03-23

This article shared 5150 times since Wed Mar 23, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


On the long list of hopes that LGBT advocates put together at the beginning of the Obama administration was the idea that the president should issue an executive order requiring the federal government enter into contracts only with companies that have non-discrimination policies protecting employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), noted that HRC included the recommendation as part of its "Blueprint for Positive Change" document, put out at the beginning of the Obama administration.

Richard Socarides, president of the recently formed LGBT media and communications group Equality Matters, told the Washington Blade Feb. 2 that such an order "ought to be something the president seriously considers doing" now.

Both said the action would be a step towards full protection against employment discrimination—an important step now, when the more far-reaching Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) appears unlikely to move during the 112th Congress.

Federal contractors compose approximately 22 percent of the U.S. civilian workforce, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL).

But when it comes to civil rights for LGBT people, the administration has eschewed executive orders and other official directives. Instead, it has taken the route of interpreting existing regulations more broadly than they have been in the past. And rather than having the president take the lead in doing so, it has let the heads of the various federal departments announce the expanded coverage.

President Obama has issued only two official directives regarding civil rights protections for LGBT people. The first was a memorandum, in June 2009, that directed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director John Berry to determine what benefits provided to the spouses of straight federal employees could also be offered to the partners of gay federal employees under existing laws.

The second was a memorandum, in April 2010, that directed the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that hospitals participating in the federal Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement programs allow patients to designate their own visitors, including same-sex partners.

A presidential memorandum has the same legal force as an executive order, according to a memo from Randolph Moss, acting assistant attorney general to President Clinton, in 2000. Unless otherwise specified, either remains in effect even after a new administration takes office. A subsequent president could also change either.

One difference is that executive orders follow a more formal process for publication. They are numbered and must be published in the Federal Register, the official record of executive branch documents. Presidential memoranda are not numbered and do not have to be published in the Register—although they may be. President Obama specified that both of his LGBT-related memoranda be published.

Without a public directive of either kind from the White House, OPM quietly extended employment protections for federal employees to cover gender identity in January 2010.

Similarly, without a public presidential missive, the DoL in June 2010 issued a statement clarifying that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows any private employee covered by the FMLA "who assumes the role of caring for a child" to take family leave "regardless of the legal or biological relationship" to the child. In doing so, it recognized nonbiological, nonadoptive parents in same-sex relationships.

Like the DoL, two other federal departments have—without official presidential requests—issued "guidance" about how to interpret existing regulations to be more inclusive of LGBT people, even if the regulations don't specify sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Department of Education issued guidance to school officials last October, reminding them that federal law requires schools to take action against bullying—including gender-based and sexual harassment of LGBT students. Even though current laws enforced by the department's Office for Civil Rights do not explicitly address harassment based on sexual orientation, they do prohibit sexual harassment and gender-based harassment directed at LGBT students or those perceived to be.

And the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued guidance last July stating that, although the Fair Housing Act (FHA) does not explicitly cover sexual orientation- or gender identity-based housing discrimination, such discrimination may be covered by the FHA in other ways. For example, gender-identity discrimination may be seen as gender discrimination, and discrimination against a gay man because of fear he will spread HIV/AIDS may constitute illegal discrimination on the basis of a perceived disability.

None of the departmental guidance was in reaction to President Obama's June 2009 memo because the guidance covered people other than federal employees.

There is precedent for presidents to issue executive orders aimed at prohibiting discrimination. President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 issued an order prohibiting federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions "on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." President Richard Nixon, in 1969, issued an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, and age in federal civilian employment.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton issued an executive order prohibiting federal agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation for the purpose of granting security clearances. And in 1998, he issued an executive order to add "sexual orientation" to the non-discrimination protections for federal civilian employees.

The executive order called for under HRC's Blueprint is one that would add sexual orientation the non-discrimination protections for the employees of companies that contract with the federal government.

The DoL enforces anti-discrimination laws that apply to federal contractors, but so far, the department has made no move beyond the FMLA in reinterpreting existing regulations to clarify protections for LGBT people.

Similarly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces federal anti-discrimination laws among all private employers with more than 15 employees, has issued no guidance on how EEOC laws might still cover some types of anti-LGBT discrimination in the absence of fuller ENDA protections.

Brian Moulton, chief legislative counsel for HRC, acknowledged that his organization's focus to date has been on ENDA, rather than "half measures," such as reinterpretations of existing policies across an array of federal departments and agencies. But now that Republicans control the House and the prospects for passing ENDA have dimmed for the near future, the topic is worth a look, he said, because "the world's a little different."

2011 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

The first part of the series ran in the March 9 issue; read it online at www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php


This article shared 5150 times since Wed Mar 23, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD German bishops, trans woman's death, Hungary, human-rights event 2023-03-18
- Germany's Catholic bishops voted (38 to nine, with 11 abstentions) to adopt formal ceremonies for the blessing of same-sex relationships, defying the Vatican and testing church unity on what has become one of the most contentious ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Ritchie Torres, N.J. towns, Karine Jean-Pierre, Tennessee items 2023-03-18
- New York Congressman Ritchie Torres has talked about his own struggle with depression and the importance of mental health in the wake of U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.)'s recent hospitalization for clinical depression, The Washington Blade ...


Gay News

Johnson and Vallas to take part in LGBTQ+-focused candidate forum March 22 2023-03-17
- Affinity Community Services (Affinity), Association of Latinos/as/xs Motivating Action (ALMA) Chicago, Brave Space Alliance, Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, Life is Work and Task Force Chicago are co-hosting a virtual ...


Gay News

Major national LGBTQ+ groups condemn Oklahoma House censure motion against Rep. Mauree Turner 2023-03-16
--From a press release - Last week, Oklahoma Representative Mauree Turner was the target of a censure motion by Republican leaders — a blatant attempt to silence the first openly non-binary U.S. state legislator. The motion passed on a party line ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023: 48th Ward candidate Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth speaks about her run-off race 2023-03-15
- Note: The following interview is part of Windy City Times' ongoing coverage of LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 Chicago municipal elections. The run-off election takes place Tuesday, April 4. Following the Feb. 28 primary election—where 10 ...


Gay News

Arkansas governor signs anti-trans medical malpractice bill 2023-03-15
- Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law a measure that makes it easier to sue providers of gender-affirming care for children, ABC News reported. This move, involving a law that will take effect this ...


Gay News

Mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson endorses 48th Ward alderperson candidate Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth 2023-03-14
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, community organizer and progressive advocate, earned the endorsement of Chicago Mayoral Candidate Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson. Since the February 28th runoff election, Manaa-Hoppenworth has ...


Gay News

Personal PAC to endorse Brandon Johnson for mayor 2023-03-14
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Personal PAC, one of Illinois' leading organizations dedicated to protecting reproductive rights, announces today an endorsement for Brandon Johnson for mayor: From the organization: "Personal PAC is proud to stand with Brandon Johnson ...


Gay News

Mayoral candidate Johnson appears at monthly LGBTQ+ event 2023-03-13
- On the evening of March 11, mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson made a surprise appearance in front of a packed room at the monthly LGBTQ+ event Slo Mo Jam, which was held at Sleeping Village, 3734 W. ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Folx Health, gay mayor arrested, powerlifter's suit, Versace visit 2023-03-10
- Boston-based Folx Health—which provides primary healthcare services and gender-affirming healthcare to LGBTQIA people—made Fast Company's list of the world's 50 most innovative businesses. A few of the other healthcare companies ...


Gay News

Black & Brown LGBTQ+ Mayoral Forum Wednesday, March 22 [UPDATED] 2023-03-14
--From a press release - The Chicago Mayoral Forum, hosted by leading Black and Brown LGBTQ+ organizations, will provide candidates with an opportunity to discuss with LGBTQ+ communities how they will ensure equity and improve the lives of Black and Brown LGBTQ+ Chicagoans. ...


Gay News

LPAC expands board of directors, building on successful 2023 midterms 2023-03-08
--From a press release - Washington, DC — LPAC, the national political organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ women and nonbinary people to public office, announced today that Liz Culley and Janelle Perez have joined its Board of Directors. LPAC is the ...


Gay News

Non-binary Okla. state rep censured after incident; LGBTQ+ groups respond 2023-03-08
- On March 7, the Oklahoma House voted to censure (or publicly express strong disapproval of) Democratic non-binary state Rep. Mauree Turner for allegedly harboring a fugitive following a recent confrontation ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT The scrutiny of Kamala Harris 2023-03-07
- President Biden had a cancerous lesion successfully removed from his chest last month, which was just now reported. At 80, questions continue about Biden's fitness to serve a second term. But questions also abound concerning Vice ...


Gay News

World's first transgender MP passes away at 65 2023-03-07
- On March 6, Georgina Beyer—a pioneering New Zealand politician who, in 1999, became the world's first openly transgender member of Parliament—passed away at the age of 65. Beyer's friends said she died peacefully in hospice care, ...


 




Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.