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 Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
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 4623 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 4623 times since Wed Mar 23, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

NATIONAL Military bill, LGBTQ teen, trans deaths, Pride items, children's book 2021-05-09
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that directs the Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs in the Garden State to assist former Armed Forces service members who were denied an honorable discharge due to ...


Gay News

POLITICS U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos to step down 2021-05-03
- U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois) announced she would retire from Congress after this term, Politico reported. Bustos had stepped down from leading the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after shepherding the ...


Gay News

WORLD Caribbean group, hate crime, 'Queen of the Pacific,' volcano wedding 2021-05-02
- A Caribbean advocacy group launched a fund to help LGBTQ people who have been impacted by the eruption of a volcano on the island of St. Vincent, The Washington Blade reported. The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Black trans candidate, travel case, trans death, CEO fired 2021-05-02
- RuPaul's Drag Race alum Honey Mahogany—who currently holds a vice-chair seat in her local County Central Committee—announced that she will be seeking the role of chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party when current Party Chair ...


Gay News

Coalition of aldermen announces Chicago City Council's Democratic Socialist Caucus 2021-05-01
- Chicago, Illinois (May 1, 2021) — Today, five aldermen announced the formal creation of the Democratic Socialist Caucus of the Chicago City Council. The founding members of the caucus - Aldermen Daniel La Spata (1), Jeanette ...


Gay News

Victory Institute launches LGBTQ political history website 2021-04-30
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute — the only organization dedicated to identifying and supporting LGBTQ public leaders — released its new website "Pride & Progress: A history of LGBTQ political power in the United ...


Gay News

Former, current Chicago aldermen facing multiple charges 2021-04-29
- On April 29, former 22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Munoz was indicted on federal charges alleging he spent cash from a political fund he controlled on sports tickets, travel, meals and other personal expenses, The Chicago Tribune ...


Gay News

LGBTQ appointments in 100 days of Biden/Harris administration off to a historic start 2021-04-29
--From a press release - Washington, DC — One-hundred days into his presidency, President Joe Biden has appointed at least 200 known LGBTQ appointees to his administration, exponentially more than any other president at this point in their administration. Among them ...


Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot announces launch of Open Chicago 2021-04-29
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced the launch of Open Chicago, the latest initiative to safely and fully reopen the city. Open Chicago's initial programming will feature activated, re-imagined, and pop-up spaces for Chicago ...


Gay News

HRC celebrates advancements in LGBTQ rights over Pres. Biden's first 100 days 2021-04-29
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — Today marks the 100th day of President Joseph R. Biden's presidency. In response, Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign, released the following statement celebrating the many steps the Biden Administration has ...


Gay News

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund reacts to joint address by President Biden 2021-04-29
- Statement from Kierra Johnson, ED, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund: "Tonight, the President laid out a broad agenda that would improve the lives of diverse LGBTQ people in this country in so many ways, from ...


Gay News

Yet another governor signs anti-trans bill 2021-04-28
- West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill that bans transgender athletes from competing in female sports in middle and high schools and colleges, The Seattle Times noted. Bills seeking to ban transgender girls from competing ...


Gay News

Hate mail threatening Obamas, Biden, Harris sent to DuSable 2021-04-28
- The Secret Service is investigating six threatening letters sent to the DuSable Museum of African American History that mention President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Obama family, among others, The Chicago Tribune reported. ...


Gay News

More than 400 major U.S. corporations register unprecedented support for Equality Act 2021-04-27
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Business Coalition for the Equality Act (https://www.hrc.org/resources/business-coalition-for-equality) announced it has grown to include more than 400 major U.S. corporations (including dozens ...


Gay News

New Center for Applied Transgender Studies responds to trans misinformation 2021-04-27
- Combatting bad information and promoting accurate education on transgender issues are the focuses at the Center for Applied Transgender Studies, which officially opened March 31. The independent, nonprofit, research organization ...


 



Copyright © 2021 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      OUT! Guide     
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      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      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.