Speed Read: Thursday 7 November 2013


1-    BIG ENDA VOTE TODAY: The U.S. Senate will vote on ENDA today at 1:45 EST, but before it does, it will take another important vote on an amendment from Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Toomey has an amendment that seeks to dramatically expand the number of employers who can be exempt from ENDA by claiming a religious exercise. LGBT groups and supporters are strongly opposed to the amendment because it would give an exemption to entities “managed by a church or religious organization,” or “officially affiliated with a particular religion,” or that “teach a curriculum directed toward propagating a particular religion.” It would apply “even if the organization has both religious and secular functions.” The good news is that the amendment needs 60 votes to pass. Read full story.

2-   HAWAII RANCOR CONTINUES: Hundreds of people crowded into the Hawaii House gallery and its hallways yesterday, chanting and shouting at each other about the marriage equality bill under consideration. Inside the chamber, the House quickly defeated several hostile amendments, including attempts to delay the vote, have another ballot measure on the issue, and expand the bill’s religious exemptions. As of late last night, the House was expected to get to a final vote on the bill Friday. UPDATE: The Honolulu Star Advertiser is reporting this morning that the House fended off an attempt to delay action (by a vote of 30-19), and voted 30-18 to vote on the measure Friday. Passage is predicted.

3-   ROYAL REVERSAL: Twelve years after rejectiing inclusion of sexual orientation in their human rights ordinance, voters in the city of Royal Oak, Michigan, voted Tuesday to uphold protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. The city council had voted in March to amend the law, but the vote was met with a quick effort to overturn it. Proposition A asked voters whether they were for or against “An Ordinance to amend the Code of the City of Royal Oak to prohibit discrimination based upon actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight … sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status, and to provide penalties for the violation thereof.” The vote was 54 percent for, 46 percent against. Royal Oak is a suburb of 57,000 people just outside of Detroit.

4-   ILLINOIS FOLLOW-UP: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said yesterday he will hold a bill signing ceremony for the marriage equality bill by the end of this month. Meanwhile, State Senator Don Harmon filed a measure Wednesday that seeks to move the bill’s enactment date up –from June 1 to sometime in February. Harmon filed his amendment on an unrelated bill that will come up for a vote in January. And Lambda Legal and the ACLU are expected to withdraw their Illinois lawsuits seeking the right to marry for same-sex couples.

5-  McAULIFFE SAYS THANKS: Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe sent this note of thanks to the Human Rights Campaign following his defeat of anti-gay Republican Ken Cuccinelli Tuesday night: “Thank you to the Human Rights Campaign for your support of my campaign. From your amazing team of eight organizers that worked every day over the last several months across Virginia to mobilize support for the statewide ticket to recruiting your membership in VA and DC to volunteer for the campaign, HRC made a difference in this election.”

6- CARNEY’S ONBOARD: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who is infamous for having no response to just about any gay-related question posed to him during routine press briefings, makes an impassioned plea for ENDA in a video circulated by the White House Wednesday.

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