Harry Reid Hub




FL Senator Bill Nelson Co-Sponsors ENDA; Advocates Pressure Final Two Dem Holdouts

6a00d8341c730253ef017c385d242b970b-800wiYesterday, after facing considerable pressure from both the LGBT rights movement nationally and advocates in his home state of Florida, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson announced his support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, according to the Washington Blade:

The senator’s name is listed as among the sponsors of ENDA on “Thomas,” the website for the Library of Congress that monitors legislation. According to the website, Nelson signed on as a supporter Monday, the same day Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that a Senate vote on ENDA would take place before Thanksgiving.

The news was first reported via Twitter by the New York Times’ Jeremy Peters.

The Florida Democrat’s office didn’t immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on why the senator had come to support ENDA. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times in July, Nelson had expressed concerns about the transgender protections in the bill.

ENDA, which would ban employers from making hiring and firing decisions based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, now has 54 sponsors in the Senate, and will gain a 55th when Senator-elect Cory Booker joins the chamber to represent New Jersey.

Nelson's announcement came just one day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada promised that ENDA will receive a vote on the Senate floor before Thanksgiving, and possibly within the next week or so.

This summer, ENDA was reported out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee on a bipartisan 15-7 vote, with Republican Senators Mark Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Orrin Hatch of Utah joining the committee's 12 Democrats to advance the bill.  If those three senators support ENDA on the Senate floor, it will be just three votes shy of overcoming a Republican filibuster.

6a00d8341c730253ef01630442fff6970d-800wiWith only two Democratic senators holding out on endorsing ENDA--which would put the bill just one vote away from a filibuster-proof majority--LGBT advocates are ramping up the political pressure directed at the reluctant lawmakers.  As Tico Almeida, founder and President of Freedom to Work put it in a statement following Nelson's announcement, proponents of ENDA expect a unified Democratic caucus to put its support behind the bill:

“Senators Manchin and Pryor are now the only two Democrats playing coy about whether they will stand on the right side of history. ENDA simply says a corporation can’t fire you just because of who you are or who you love, and Americans want a country where people are  judged for the job they do based on their skills and hard work, not  their sexual orientation or gender identity.  We urge Sen. Manchin and Sen. Pryor to stand with the majority of Americans, and the majority of people in their states and support the LGBT freedom to work.”

Despite the LGBT movement's push for the passage of ENDA, some in the community have expressed reservations about the bill's religious exemptions.  In a statement issued today, the LGBT organization GetEQUAL said that the exemptions written into ENDA could set a "dangerous, unnecessary, and un-American precedent":

“While we are glad that ENDA will receive a vote in the Senate for the first time in almost 20 years, we are dismayed that the bill continues to excuse religious bigotry as acceptable under the law. Broad religious exemptions in the bill actually make it possible that institutions such as schools, hospitals, and universities can continue discriminating against LGBT employees and prospective employees.

We’re calling on progressive champions in the Senate — including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Sherrod Brown — to speak out against these exemptions, establishing a clear record that these exemptions are not necessary and are not acceptable in 2013.”


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to Announce He'll Bring ENDA to the Floor Before Thanksgiving

Reid

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, who promised in a Pride statement earlier this year that he would bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to a vote "soon" will do so before Thanksgiving, and will make that announcement today according to tweets from Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner and the HuffPost's Amanda Terkel.

Adds Terkel:

The Senate will convene Monday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. At that time, Reid will announce his plans to bring up ENDA during the current work period, which ends the week before Thanksgiving. Reid has long been a supporter of ENDA, cosponsoring it as early as 1997.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced the bill in the Senate on April 25, and it currently has 54 cosponsors. Every single Democratic senator has signed on, with the exception of Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).

"I thank Majority Leader Reid for committing to bring ENDA to the floor this work period," Merkley said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "Americans understand that it’s time to make sure our LGBT friends and family are treated fairly and have the same opportunities. Now it's time for our laws to catch up. People should be judged at work on their ability to do the job, period.”

We'll update this post as it develops....


West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller Becomes ENDA's 52nd Sponsor

8554910246_0436033738

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is going to need 60 votes to pass the U.S. Senate, and the Washington Blade reports that it's now one vote closer to that threshold:

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has signaled he’ll add his name to the growing number of lawmakers who’ve signed on as co-sponsors of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — giving it arguably more co-sponsors than any other LGBT bill in history.

In a statement provided to Washington Blade via email, the senior senator from West Virginia confirmed that he signed would become the 52nd U.S. senator to sponsor the anti-LGBT job bias legislation.

“The fact that discrimination is tolerated anywhere in our country needs to be addressed once and for all,” Rockefeller said. “The integrity of our nation, and our ability to be a credible global leader on human rights, means that all people must be treated equally under the law.”

In just the last week, three other Democratic Senators--Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tom Carper of Delaware and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada--have come out in favor of the bill.  Reid's official support is seen as an important boost for the bill, since the majority leader rarely co-sponsors bills himself.  Earlier this week, even Gabriel Gomez, the Republican candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, announced his support of ENDA.

Only four Democratic Senators remain who have not endorsed ENDA: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Bill Nelson of Florida, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Tim Johnson of South Dakota.  Sens. Nelson and Johnson support marriage equality; Sens. Manchin and Pryor do not.

LGBT advocates are pressing hard for a full Senate vote on ENDA this year.  In announcing his co-sponsorship of the legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Red simply said that he "look[s] forward to taking up" the bill "soon."


Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid: 'My Niece is a Lesbian'

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) spoke about ENDA with reporters today, backing up his support for the legislation by revealing he has a niece who is gay, the HuffPost reports:

ReidMy niece is a lesbian," Reid said during a sit-down with reporters. "She's a school teacher. Her employment shouldn't be affected with that. We should have a law that says that, not just the good graces of wherever you work."

Reid's niece declined to be interviewed or to give her name. But per Reid's spokesman, she was fine with Reid making her sexual orientation public.

What are the bill's chances this year?

Reid said there's "a chance" he'll bring up ENDA for a vote this year, noting that he had a meeting about it just last week. He wondered aloud why it doesn't have broad support to pass.

"It's hard to comprehend that we haven't done a better job," he said.


Harry Reid on Immigration Reform: 'Gay Folks...Should Be Protected' - VIDEO

Reid

Steve mentioned this interview in his round-up yesterday but I thought I'd post the clip of Harry Reid telling George Stephanopoulos that same-sex families need to be included in immigration reform.

Via Think Progress:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): One of the other big issues, the President said he wants gay and lesbians to be able to have a family preference. Senator McCain has said we shouldn’t come up with legislation for what he calls social issues.

REID: If we have gay folks in this country who have children, or they come from some other place they should be protected just like any other child.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s the position the Republicans are saying that’s too heavy to lift.

REID: If they’re looking for an excuse not to support this legislation, this is another one, but the American people are past excuses. They want this legislation passed.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Meanwhile, Senator John McCain is trying to do just that: Mccain

But congressional Republicans immediately condemned the idea and warned that the measure imperils broader immigration reform. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), one of the senators on the eight-member bipartisan working group on immigration, said at a Politico breakfast last week that injecting social issues into the debate over immigration legislation “is the best way to derail it.”

“Which is more important: LGBT or border security?” McCain said, using an abbreviation for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. “I’ll tell you what my priorities are.”

Continue reading "Harry Reid on Immigration Reform: 'Gay Folks...Should Be Protected' - VIDEO" »


News: Rob Gronkowski, Immigration, NASA, Asylum

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Nate Silver makes his prediction for the Super Bowl.

Robg6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d His team may not be competing in the Super Bowl, but Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski found himself partying shirtless in New Orleans.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d NASA says an approaching asteroid will be the largest object to ever come this close to Earth, but the mega rock won't zip by until later this month.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Harry Reid says immigration reform should include same-sex families: "If we have gay folks in this country who have children, or they come from some other place they should be protected just like any other child."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Ricky Martin lands in Oz.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Buzzfeed: The Dying Political Tradition Of Avoiding The Gay Question.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Britney Spears will not be playing Vegas.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Louisville, Kentucky, expands anti-discrimination protections for city employees.

Etch6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Inventor of the Etch A Sketch dead at 86.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Iowa Senator Matt McCoy wants to reduce the penalty for HIV-positive people who don't purposely pass the virus to their sex partners. "...someone convicted of intentional or attempted transmission of the virus could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison and face a $750 to $7,500 fine. That would put HIV in the same criminal category as transmitting any other communicable disease, such as Hepatitis C."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Report: Gay UK asylum seekers frequently required to prove sexuality: "(Lecture) will detail the extraordinary methods to which individuals are resorting – including filming themselves having sex – to justify requests for refuge."


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged