Status in the 110th Congress

Hate Crimes Legislation

On May 5, 2007, the House passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (HR.1592) by a vote of 237-180. Senator Edward Kennedy’s (D-MA) companion bill, the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (S.1105), was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. S. 1105 had 43 cosponsors by the time of the amendment vote (see below) in September, now 44. The Senate has not separately acted on H.R. 1592.

On September 25, Senators Kennedy and Gordon Smith (R-OR) introduced S. 1105 as Amendment 3035 to the FY 2008 Department of Defense authorization bill (H.R. 1585). Two days later, the Senate successfully invoked cloture to close off debate on the amendment. The final vote was 60-39 (60 required). The amendment itself passed by voice vote. Conference negotiations stalled over this language, and it was left out in the end.

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On April 24, 2007, Representative Barney Frank (D-4th MA) introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007 (ENDA) (HR.2015), which was referred to four House committees: House Administration; Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP); Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties; and Oversight and Government Reform. It currently has 173 cosponsors. The HELP Subcommittee held a hearing on September 5 but has yet to markup the bill.

On September 27, Representative Frank split H.R. 2015 into two new bills: one limited to sexual orientation (H.R. 3685) and one limited to gender identity (H.R. 3686), both with a broad exemption for religious organizations.

After an October 2 markup was postponed, the Education and Labor Committee considered ENDA on October 18. They moved H.R. 3685 instead of H.R. 2015 or H.R. 3686. It passed by a 27-21 vote.

The full House was expected to vote on October 24 but did not take action until November 7 when H.R. 3685 passed by a 235-184 vote. Representative Tammy Baldwin’s (D-2nd WI) amendment adding gender identity language back into the bill was offered but later withdrawn. The manager’s amendment sponsored by Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-7th CA) passed by a 402-25 vote. Representative Mark Souder’s (R-3rd IN) marital status amendment passed by a 325-101 vote. Representative Randy Forbes’ (R-4th VA) motion to recommit on preventing the bill from restricting or overturning marriage laws failed by a 198-222 vote.

PFAW strongly supports a gender identity inclusive ENDA. We supported the Baldwin amendment but did not take a position on H.R. 3685.

We are still awaiting Senate consideration of ENDA, which may come in the form of H.R. 3685 or a yet to be introduced bill from Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

Updated February 29, 2008

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