What’s Brewing: Frank to introduce ENDA; UCIS puts deportation of some gay partners on hold

Rep. Barney Frank

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Openly gay Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., says he plans to re-introduce the Employment Nondiscrimination Act this week. Frank acknowledges ENDA has no chance of passing the GOP-controlled House this session, but he says it can be an organizing tool, particularly with regard to the transgender issue: “This is an organizing effort. I’m going to be urging people to spend their time talking to those who have voted in the past for ENDA and are supportive of ENDA but where we’re not certain they’re still with us on the transgender issue. So, that’s what – having a bill before you makes it easier to organize people to do that.”

2. In a major breakthrough for LGBT immigration equality, some deportations involving bi-national same-sex couples have been put on hold pending the outcome of lawsuits challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, according to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service.

3. The Arkansas Legislature has done what the Texas Legislature could not — passing an anti-bullying bill that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity. Specific mentions of LGBT youth were removed from anti-bullying bills in Texas to facilitate their chances of passage. In Arkansas, the fully inclusive anti-bullying measure passed the Senate 34-0 and the House 68-18. It now awaits Gov. Mike Beebe’s signature. How bout it, Texas?

—  John Wright

Now that he’s screwed 200 out of health benefits, El Paso bigot Tom Brown wants to be left alone

Pastor Tom Brown

Pastor Tom Brown robbed hundreds of people of health insurance when he spearheaded a ballot measure that overturned domestic partner benefits for El Paso city employees. But now Brown wants the LGBT community and its supporters to just forget about it and stop protesting outside his Word of Life Church. KFOX Channel 8 reports:

After the council passed the ordinance, Pastor Tom Brown quickly gained enough signatures to send the decision of whether or not domestic partners should get health care benefits to the voters and the majority sided with him.

“Let’s all move on,” said Brown.

The group of protesters Tuesday, mostly composed of radio talk show hosts, said that is not going to happen.

“Don’t you think it’s a little late; the election’s over with,” said Brown.

The group said it’s never too late and this is just the beginning of what they call “Love” rallies.

“To me that’s not love when you mock other peoples’ lives,” said Brown.

The pastor said he hopes the protesters pick a better and more respectful location next time.

“This is a place where people have their particular views, and they shouldn’t be put to ridicule because a particular church doesn’t correspond to the public view,” said Brown.

Even The Wall Street Journal has taken notice of the DP benefits controversy in El Paso. The WSJ story posted Monday says the ballot initiative could eventually threaten health benefits for up to 6,000 people,, including retirees, because it was so vaguely worded. You see, Brown’s group couldn’t find an attorney to work on the initiative, so they just wrote it themselves. Now, the city’s labor unions are preparing a lawsuit, and the City Council is looking at ways to overturn the initiative:

The pastor, Tom Brown, is threatening to fight officials if they attempt to reinstate the benefits for gay partners. He has proposed another ballot initiative which would strip the city council of its power to amend or rescind voter-approved measures.

“I’m feeling a call from God to get more involved in our government,” Mr. Brown said in an interview.

—  John Wright