House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is flirting
with the idea of putting a gay rights bill up for a vote during the
upcoming lame-duck session of Congress.
Jonathan Allen is reporting that Pelosi talked about adding the
bill to a short list during a leadership conference on Wednesday.
As recently as July, Pelosi had said
the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would need to be keept
on the back burner until “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” is repealed.
The law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly is
expected to run into major turbulence next week in the Senate, where
Republicans, led by Arizona Senator John McCain, have threatened to
block any effort to repeal the policy.
ENDA would ban workplace discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (transgender
protections). The bill stalled out in committee early in the year.
Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid have been repeatedly targeted by members of the group GetEQUAL
over their lukewarm support for ENDA.
Earlier in the week, openly gay
Congressman Barney Frank, the lead sponsor of ENDA, predicted
gay rights bills faced a “zero chance” of passage next year.