Washington Blade
July 17, 2013

The gay co-author of the bipartisan campaign finance reform law known as McCain-Feingold says LGBT advocates could take a lesson from the way that measure passed into law — a discharge petition in the U.S. House — to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Trevor Potter, a Republican attorney with Caplin & Drysdale who specializes in political law, told the Washington Blade on Tuesday that a discharge petition is “the only way” to get ENDA passed while Republicans remain in control of the House.

“Given the House GOP leader’s opposition to ENDA, and resulting refusal to schedule it for a floor vote, the ONLY way to get it passed in the House is by way of a discharge petition,” Potter said via email. “If the petition gets close to 218 signatures, then the leadership will negotiate.”

Asked whether those words should be considered an endorsement of a discharge petition, Potter replied, “I’m not in the business of endorsing strategies — just commenting on them and analyzing them. I’m just a lawyer, not a political strategist.”

Successful discharge petitions in Congress in rare, but some supporters of ENDA — most prominently the LGBT group Freedom to Work — are seeking a discharge petition as a way to get around the issue of House Republican leadership  withholding a floor vote on ENDA.