BHB is pleased to have Rep. Yvette Clarke (D- 11th Congressional District) as a guest blogger. Today the U.S. House of Representative passed the ENDA (The Employment Non Discrimination Act), which gives Gay and Lesbian Americans equal protection under the law. A provision to include Transgendered individuals was removed from the legislation by Rep. Barney Frank, who is gay. Frank reportedly he feared that the stipulation would jeopardize the entire bill.
In what can be seen as a bold move, Rep. Clarke broke party lines and voted NO to the revised bill. Here, she explains her position:
As we evolve as a society it is important for us to remember the importance of the diversity that contributes to all that makes this nation great!
The Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) comes at a pivotal time in our society. Over the past year we’ve seen an unconscionable increase in the number of hate crimes being committed across our nation. These insensitive and harmful acts are a constant reminder that we still have a lot to learn about valuing all of humanity.
I am deeply saddened today that the transgender community is being overlooked in this non-inclusive version of ENDA. Because of this exclusion, I must vote NO on H.R. 3685.
As you know I represent the 11th Congressional District of New York. In my hometown of Brooklyn, we have local laws which protect both sexual orientation and gender identity, which is why it is very difficult for me to support this bill in its current form.
In my district, I am fortunate to have individuals who are integral parts of the community– some of whom are members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
The L-G-B-T community has been historically, institutionally, and categorically denied equal protection under the law. I for one am not comfortable continuing that pattern.
It would be unprecedented for Congress to pass a civil rights bill that is solidly opposed by the very community that it is meant to protect!
I cannot in good faith and with a clear conscious vote yes on a piece of legislation that would continue to leave one group of Americans behind in their quest for equality.
I believe our pledge of allegiance says it best “with liberty and justice for all.”
Rep. Yvette Clark (D) represents Brooklyn's 11th Congressional District which includes parts of Brooklyn Heights.