Speed Read: Monday 4 November 2013

1-FILIBUSTER HAWAII STYLE: The chairman of a Hawaii House committee hearing on a marriage equality bill promised to let every one of the 5,181 people who signed up to testify have their two minutes at the podium, reported the Honolulu StarAdvertiser Saturday. That hearing has run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and will resume again this morning and, if every person who has signed up gets his or her two minutes worth, it could go on for another several days. The majority of those who are testifying are opposed to the bill and are, apparently, part of a well-organized campaign to stall the measure in hopes of killing it filibuster style. But special sessions in Hawaii have no time limit and a poll taken in the StarAdvertiser found, as of Sunday afternoon, that 90 percent of its 2,273 readers said the “flood of public testimony” on marriage has not “affected” their opinion on the issue.

2-RUSH FOR NOVEMBER 18: The Hawaii marriage equality bill passed in the state senate calls for a November 18 enactment date. If the Hawaii House amends the marriage equality bill this week, the measure will have to go back to the Senate for another vote. Other potential snags include a court effort to stop the legislature’s special session and a motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent Governor Neil Abercrombie from signing a marriage equality bill if it reaches his desk. A state judge has scheduled a hearing on the order for the latter for Thursday, November 7.

3-EXEMPTION CONNECTICUT STYLE: The StarAdvertiser said some House members believe the House will have to make some amendments to the Senate’s bill. Reportedly under consideration are amendments such as those in the Connecticut marriage equality law, providing for certain exemptions for religious clergy and institutions. Connecticut’s exemption reads: “No member of the clergy authorized to join persons in marriage… shall be required to solemnize any marriage in violation of his or her right to the free exercise of religion…. No church or qualified church-controlled organization, as defined in 26 USC 3121, shall be required to participate in a ceremony solemnizing a marriage in violation of the religious beliefs of that church or qualified church-controlled organization.”

4-ENDA RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION: Here’s Section 6 of ENDA, the section likely to inspire the greatest debate in the U.S. Senate this week:  This Act shall not apply to a corporation, association, educational institution or institution of learning, or society that is exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. [Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.]

5-PRESIDENT WEIGHS IN: President Obama submitted an opinion piece posted on Huffington Post last night, saying, “millions of LGBT Americans go to work every day fearing that, without any warning, they could lose their jobs — not because of anything they’ve done, but simply because of who they are. It’s offensive. It’s wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense.”

6-OHIO STEP FORWARD: A federal judge in Ohio Friday ruled in favor of allowing a funeral director to intervene in litigation on behalf of same-sex couples in the state seeking the right to have their out-of-state marriage licenses recognized on death certificates. Allowing the funeral director to intervene means the judge’s eventual ruling in the lawsuit could have benefit for all same-sex couples in the state.

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