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Activist Claims DNC Chair Discouraged Dems from Urging Obama to Issue 'ENDA' Executive Order

A prominent activist is accusing DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL, pictured) of discouraging Democratic lawmakers from signing a letter asking President Obama to issue an executive order that would ban workplace discrimination against LGBT people, the Washington Blade reports.

Wasserman-schultzHouse Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly said he will not allow a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which passed the Senate for the first time this year, and activists are growing impatient.

Said Paul Yandura, political director for gay philanthropist Jonathan Lewis, to the Blade:

"I was told personally by two members that she was tamping down on public calls for the president to make good on his promise — this was last year when the issue was really getting hot. She is most likely doing the same still," adding, "I think she doesn’t want to embarrass the president, and still doesn’t want to embarrass the president, because it is an embarrassment that he still hasn’t done it. We’re now coming down to the end of the second term, and if they don’t get moving on it, it’ll never even get implemented."

Wasserman Schultz's spokesperwon Mara Sloan called Yandura's assertions a "bald-faced lie," adding:

"The congresswoman believes the most effective way to ensure equal rights for LGBT Americans in the workplace is through passing comprehensive non-discrimination legislation. The congresswoman regularly speaks to the administration about issues important to the LGBT community, and will continue to be a fierce advocate for full equality."

Yandura said his claims are based on things he heard while collecting signatures for a 2013 letter urging Obama to issue the order.

More at the Blade....

WILL REPUBLICANS BE THE KEY TO ENDA?

SingerIn related news, a group of wealthy Republicans and former GOP lawmakers are joining an HRC-led campaign to push the House to take a vote on ENDA, USA Today reports:

"America is a place where the freedom to be who you are shouldn't be a barrier to your ability to get a job and provide for your family," said Paul Singer (pictured), a billionaire hedge fund founder and big Republican donor. Singer is putting $375,000 toward the push for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. "In the workplace, employees should be judged on their merit and hard work and not on aspects that are irrelevant to their performance."

Fellow billionaire and GOP donor Seth Klarman also donated $375,000 to the campaign spearheaded by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights lobby. HRC is putting up an additional $1.3 million in the effort to get 218 House lawmakers — a majority of the chamber — on record in support of ENDA.

The campaign plans to go after 48 persuadable House Republicans and gain their support for the bill:

If the group can get 218 lawmakers on public record in support of the legislation, they say House GOP leaders, including Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, may have to rethink their decision not to vote this year.

Boehner told members of the LGBT caucus at an historic first meeting earlier this year that ENDA had no chances of seeing a vote in 2014.


DNC Chair Predicts Marriage Equality Inclusion For Democratic Platform

WassermanSchultzDemocratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she plans on seeing marriage equality included in her party's official policy platform.

"I expect marriage equality to be a plank in the national party platform," the Florida Representative told Philadelphia Gay News. "Now, our platform committee process is a people-powered process. We have a platform committee and the platform is developed by our Democratic activists and the platform committee members, so they’ll go through a process. I hope that marriage equality, and expect that marriage equality, will be part of our platform."

Rep. Wasserman Schultz also said that while many Democrats remain committed to passing a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, groundwork needs to be in place before a serious effort can get going. "Just like what we went through with the hate-crimes law, in order to make sure that we could pass an inclusive hate-crimes law — we had to go through the community — we had to go through an education process. There had to be more outreach," she explained.

"We’ve been going through the same process with ENDA. I think really the last barrier to achieving ENDA is making sure that we have a Democratic majority in Congress so that we can send it to President Barack Obama for his signature. We have a Republican Congress that is so extreme."

As for whether the party will specifically help lesbian Rep. Tammy Baldwin win her Senatorial race, Wasserman-Schutlz says that's a question for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, but promised "Tammy Baldwin is going to be the next U.S. senator from Wisconsin."


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Rep. Allen West Tells Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Democrats to 'Get the Hell Out' of America: VIDEO

West

Rep. Allen West (R-FL), who has appeared on Towleroad for his anti-gay statements regarding marriage, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and his views that homosexuality is a behavior like choosing an ice cream flavor or riding a scooter, was speaking before the Palm Beach Republican Party over the weekend.

West trashed the "Democrat" party, telling Obama and progressive leaders to "get the hell out" of America:

"This is a battlefield, that we must stand upon. We need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, (audience boos) and my dear friend the chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain't on the table. Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America...Yeah, I said 'hell'"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Breaks Down at Farewell for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords: VIDEO

Dw_schultz

Congress bid farewell this morning to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz broke down as she said good-bye and read aloud Giffords' resignation letter. Giffords then presented her letter to weeping House Speaker John Boehner.

Watch the emotional ceremony, AFTER THE JUMP...

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DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Calls Santorum's Anti-Gay Marriage Plan 'Inappropriate and Unacceptable': VIDEO

Schultz

Speaking off the cuff to a YouTuber with a camera, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz offers her thoughts about the Iowa caucuses and Rick Santorum's plans to invalidate same-sex marriage.

Says Wasserman Schultz of Santorum's plans for a federal marriage amendment: "That would be un-American, un-Democratic and entirely inappropriate and unacceptable."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via jmg)

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