President Obama’s response to a press conference question about his budget, and why it doesn’t include many of the recommendations of his bipartisan fiscal commission, has received a good bit of attention: “you guys are pretty impatient. … I’ve had this conversation for the last two years about every single issue that we’ve worked on, whether it was health care or ‘don’t ask/don’t tell.”

He made the queer connection for me. The “just be patient” response from Electeds to constituents is familiar: The timing isn’t right. Wait until after the election. We’ll get to you, promise. Be patient.

GetEqual’s “ENDA Timeline: Broken Promises,” is a good example. The Employment Nondiscrimination Act hasn’t received as much attention in the last few years as DADT or DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), though there have been organizations, and even a few Electeds, working on it.

A February 10, 2011 article, “The False Choice: ENDA v. Marriage Equality,” by Equality Matters’ Kerry Eleveld, includes this, regarding ENDA: “My own personal experience of talking to reasonably well-informed straight allies is that many have no idea people can still be fired on the basis of their sexual orientation in 29 states or that transgender individuals can be fired in 38 states.”

That’s my experience, too. For an extensive compilation of the ENDA process, see “ENDA Timeline” at GetEqual.

This is a selective overview (brackets enclose my summaries; bold added):

March 14, 1974 – … Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY) and Rep. Ed Koch (D-NY) introduce H.R. 14752, dubbed the “gay rights bill”… but it fails to make it out of committee.

[1975 version fails.]

[1994 & 1995 – ENDA introduced; fails to get out of committee]

Sept. 10, 1996 – … Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), the lead sponsor of ENDA, struck a deal with Senate Republican leaders to allow ENDA to come up for a vote only if Kennedy and his Democratic allies agreed to end a filibuster blocking a vote on … DOMA. On the same day the Senate narrowly defeated ENDA, it passed DOMA by a vote of 85 to 14. …

1997 – Another version of ENDA is introduced … fails to make it out of committee.

1999 – The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force becomes the first gay civil rights organization to stop work on ENDA because of its lack of a transgender provision. ENDA reintroduced, again without transgender protections, fails to make it out of committee.

[2002 “” 2003 “” A hearing, a committee, nothing to the floor for a vote ]

2006 – During midterm elections, Democrats and the Democratic Leadership once again promise to make passage of ENDA a top priority. …

[April 24, 2007 “” inclusive ENDA introduced in House. September 26, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) announces he doesn’t have the votes to pass an inclusive, recommends gay-only version.]

[Week of October 5, 2007 – 150 state and national gay groups sign a statement demanding members of Congress oppose any non-inclusive version of ENDA.]

[From October 10 “” 24, various statements and actions, including The House Committee on Education & Labor approving a gay-only ENDA; House postpones promised non-inclusive ENDA vote.]

Week of Oct. 31, 2007 – … Freshman House Democrats reportedly urge Pelosi not to allow Baldwin to introduce her (inclusive) amendment in fear that voting on it will hurt their re-election efforts. …

November 7, 2007 – House passes non-inclusive ENDA 235 to 184, five days before end of session with no vote taken or scheduled in the Senate – effectively rendering it dead.

June 26, 2008 – Congress holds groundbreaking hearing on gender identity issues. …

[ 2009 – Inclusive-ENDA bill introduced in the House and Senate; House committee hearings held; mark-up postponed indefinitely, with staffer saying it will be “rescheduled after Thanksgiving holiday.” It wasn’t.]

March 23, 2010 – … Frank says … a vote on ENDA “may not come this week” afterall (sic), but he “expects a votes as soon as they come back” from recess on April 9. …

April 1, 2010 “” (Activist) David Mixner sends out a warning … “Democratic leaders begged us to wait until after healthcare was successfully passed. … But now they are telling us … they used up all their ‘chits and clout’ with healthcare and now is not the time …”

May 10, 2010 – The whip count on ENDA enters its fifth week, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin, respond[ed] to complaints from moderate lawmakers who question the political wisdom of pushing gay rights bills in a difficult election year”

May 13, 2010 – Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) … chief whip for the Blue Dog Coalition says, (of) ENDA, “I don’t think they should bring it up, first, let’s get our fiscal house in order.”

[May 17, 2010 “” Pelosi tells community leaders it’s “literally impossible,” for scheduling reasons, to take a vote on DADT and ENDA in the same week.]

May 21, 2010 – … Frank says that ENDA will be delayed until late June or mid-July because of the planned upcoming vote on the compromise repeal of DADT.

July 1, 2010 – Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) says, when asked whether the House would vote on ENDA this year, “The rest of the year is in question. ENDA, we will have that law for sure within the next five years.”

July 24, 2010 “” [Pelosi asked at Netroots Nation about ENDA] Regarding timing of the passage of ENDA … “I can’t give you a time. But I can tell you that it is a priority and it had been our hope to do it this year. We have to finish Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and hopefully we can do both this year.

Electeds to Queerdom: We’ll do it! We’re working on it! We’re trying. We hope. … Okay, too late this year, but we’ll get to it right after the elections! Don’t forget to vote for me … not that you have another option.

1974 to 2011 “” someday, perhaps fairly soon, it will ENDA, but please, no lectures about being patient.