[Image: Image shared June 12, 2012, on Facebook by the Human Rights Campaign, featuring a capture from a Traditional Values Coalition email.]
Although the only comments opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to be heard in today's Senate Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the bill came from one witness, Craig Parshall of the National Religious Broadcasters Association, one outside group took to its email list with a particularly aggressive and anti-transgender pitch.
The Traditional Values Coalition, which is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, put out a fundraising email to members today attacking the specter of transgender teachers.
Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told Metro Weekly, "It's just shameful, but it's the kind of thing that we've come to expect from the right wing."
The Human Rights Campaign posted the above-pictured image on Facebook, telling supporters, "Share this image now to help expose their divisive bigotry and hatred."
In addition to TVC's virulently anti-transgender attack, TVC president Andrea Lafferty also claimed credit for stopping ENDA's passage in the 111th Congress.
"TVC killed ENDA two years ago," she wrote. "In fact, ENDA was scheduled to be voted on, but the liberals were too scared to vote on the bill when the truth was revealed ENDA would put transgenders in the classroom teaching our kids!"
Although it is true that ENDA was scheduled for a mark-up session in the House that was never rescheduled, no members of Congress to speak with Metro Weekly about the issue have attributed the decision to any actions by TVC. In Metro Weekly's exclusive reporting at the time on the treatment of ENDA in the 111th Congress, the spokesman for then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Drew Hammill, said of the delay that "health care ... obviously ... took much longer than anticipated."
Hammill added, though, that "[t]here were issues with the motion to recommit" on ENDA, a procedural move that can be used by the minority in the House to insert a "poison pill" amendment into legislation. "Everyone thought we had the votes on the underlying measure, but it depended on what language the GOP [brought up] on the motion to recommit." Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) expanded upon that, saying, "What they were worried about was a motion to recommit, like saying that an elementary school teacher can't transition in the middle of the year."
In the time since, NCTE, HRC and other organizations have spent signficant time educating on transgender issues, hoping to alleviate such concerns moving forward.