Speed Read: Wednesday 6 November 2013

1-    ILLINOIS TO BE NUMBER 15: The Illinois House voted Tuesday afternoon to approve a marriage equality bill and, within the hour, the state senate concurred in the House version. Democratic Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign it in the next few weeks, making Illinois the 15th state plus the District of Columbia to provide marriage equality for same-sex couples. It is the ninth state to do so in the past 12 months, and the sixth to do so just this year. The bill will take effect June 1. Read full story.

2-    PRESIDENT OVERJOYED: President Obama issued a statement Tuesday evening in reaction to passage of the marriage equality bill in Illinois, saying “Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours – and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.”

3-    HAWAII BILL ADVANCES: A Hawaii House panel voted Tuesday evening to advance a marriage equality bill to the full House. The vote came just hours after the panel closed out a five-day marathon public hearing that took statements from more than 5,000 citizens, most of whom were opposed to the bill. The full House is expected to vote on the measure Thursday and, if it passes, the bill must return to the senate for concurrence. Read full story.

4-   MAYORAL VICTORIES: Openly gay Washington State Senator Ed Murray, author of the legislature’s successful marriage equality bill, won election last night as mayor of Seattle. The victory makes Murray the city’s first openly gay mayor. And Annise Parker, the first openly lesbian mayor of Houston, the nation’s fourth most populous city, handily won re-election to a third and final term last night. Read full story on gay candidates in yesterday’s elections on this website.

5-   VIRGINIA FOR LOVERS: Pro-gay Democrat Terry McAuliffe edged out anti-gay Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for the Virginia governor’s office, 47.5 percent to 45.4 percent, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections. Tuesday night’s victory will mean a much gay friendlier government next year, as McAuliffe replaces ultra-conservative Republican Governor Bob McDonnell. In his campaign, McAuliffe frequently criticized Cuccinelli for his hostile remarks and policies against gays.

6-   NEW JERSEY STAYS THE CHRIS: As expected, incumbent Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey won re-election, defeating a vigorously pro-gay candidate, Democrat Barbara Buono. Like McAuliffe did in Virginia, Buono tried to use Christie’s anti-gay positions against him in the campaign. But Christie was able to neutralize much of the criticism by claiming he simply wanted the voters to decide whether to let same-sex couples to marry. Ultimately, he conceded the issue by dropping his appeal of a marriage equality decision.

7-   ENDA AWAITING VOTE: The 30-hour post-cloture clock is ticking down toward a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) as the Senate convenes for business at 10:30 EDT this morning. A few senators spoke in favor of the measure Tuesday; none spoke against. Republicans who did speak addressed only the Affordable Care Act. In opening Senate business Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid chastised House Speaker John Boehner for saying, through a spokesman, Monday that he fears ENDA would lead to frivolous lawsuits. “Coming from the man whose caucus spent $3 million in taxpayer dollars defending the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage law in court,” quipped Reid, “that is pretty rich.”

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