House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Reps. George Miller, D-Martinez, Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., believe that they lack the votes in the Democrat-controlled House to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act if it includes gender identity along with sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for firing an employee.
Frank and Baldwin are the only openly gay members of Congress.
"People now accept the fact that we just don't have the votes for the transgender," Frank said.
Nervous Democrats had been hearing about Republican amendments to the employment bill, Frank said, "that would talk about schoolteachers, and what happens when the kid comes back from summer vacation and teachers change gender. We just lost enough Democrats and we couldn't be sure of the Republicans."
The move put a damper Thursday on what Democrats otherwise were hailing as a landmark day for gay rights.