Speed Read: Tuesday 5 November 2013

1-    ENDA VOTE: The U.S. Senate voted 61 to 30 last night to approve a motion that allows the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to proceed to the floor for debate and vote. The 61 “Yea” votes included seven Republicans: Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Under post-cloture procedures, a vote on the measure must be taken within 30 hours of Senate time in session, which starts ticking down at 10 this morning. Some of the Republicans who voted for cloture Monday are reportedly planning to seek amendments to the bill now. Meanwhile, Republican House Speaker John Boehner reiterated Monday that he has no intention of bringing ENDA to the floor in that chamber. Read full story.

2-   HAWAII MARATHON CONTINUES: A Hawaii House hearing on a proposed marriage equality bill continued last night for the fourth day since it began last Thursday. By mid-afternoon Monday, the hearing was going back through the 5,181 names of people who signed up to speak to give those who missed their first opportunity to show up and speak this time. Again Monday night, most citizens testifying oppose the bill, most opponents cited religious reasons for their opposition, and quite a few appeared to have great difficulty reading their statements. Some opponents threatened the legislators with retaliation at re-election time. As long as the hearing continues, it can be viewed by live webstream.

3-   THE ILLINOIS HOUSE RETURNS: The marriage equality bill in Illinois has only today, tomorrow, and Thursday to pass the state House and possibly a date in early January to pass this session, or else start all over again with a new legislative session. Equality Illinois leader Bernard Cherkasov said he doesn’t expect action on the measure today but that there is a “strong possibility” of action Wednesday.

4-   MAINE U.S. REP. COMES OUT –U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, a Democratic candidate for governor next year, acknowledged in an op-ed piece to Associated Press and two Maine newspapers that he is gay. Michaud (pronounced Mee-show), 58, said he was making the acknowledgement publically because of “whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls” by opponents seeking to gain some advantage by outing him as gay. “Yes, I am. But why should it matter?” wrote Michaud. “Growing up in a large Franco-American Catholic family, it’s never been in my nature to talk about myself. I write this now merely to let my opponents and the outside interests who fund them know that I am not ashamed of who I am. And if seeing someone from my background, in my position, openly acknowledge the fact that he’s gay makes it a little bit easier for future generations to live their lives openly and without fear, all the better.” Michaud, who represents Maine’s largest geographic district, had a 100 percent score with the Human Rights Campaign in his first two terms, then 85, 97, and 95 in subsequent terms. His inclusion means there are now seven openly LGBT members of the U.S. House.

5-   ELECTION DAY: In addition to today’s much watched elections for governor in Virginia and New Jersey, LGBT politicos will be watching Annise Parker’s bid for a third term as Houston mayor.

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