Hawaii House Committees Pass Marriage Equality Bill After Five Days Of Testimony

HONOLULU — After more than 55 hours of testimony, the joint House committees voted Tuesday to pass Hawaii’s marriage equality bill, Senate Bill 1. The House Judiciary Committee and Finance Committee voted 18 to 12. The bill now goes to the full House for a final vote.

The vote comes during a special session called by Gov. Abercrombie for Hawaii’s marriage equality bill, and after a Senate hearing by the Committee of Judiciary and Labor and a full Senate vote to send the bill to the House.

Before they voted, the House committees amended Senate Bill 1 to broaden a religious exemption that allows religious leaders to refuse service for same-sex marriage ceremonies and moved the effective date from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2.

via Hawaii House Committees Pass Marriage Equality Bill After Five Days Of Testimony.

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17 years after defeat, Senate advances gay rights bill

WASHINGTON — The Senate moved forward Monday on a bill to prohibit workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians in a dramatic 61-30 vote. But opposition from the House speaker means the bill may not get to President Obama’s desk.

The Senate vote was not without suspense. With Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., at a funeral, Democrats needed last-minute support from two Republicans to get the 60 votes necessary to prevent a filibuster. Democratic leaders went into the Republican cloakroom to plead with Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. After half an hour of voting, both voted yes.

The vote clears the way for the Senate to consider the issue for the first time since 1996, when it failed in the Senate by a single vote.

The last House effort to pass the bill succeeded,235 to 184, in a Democratic-controlled Congress in 2007. But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, reaffirmed his long-standing opposition to the bill Monday, making it unlikely the House will schedule a vote. “The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small-business jobs,” Boehner press secretary Michael Steel said.

via 17 years after defeat, Senate advances gay rights bill.

Senate Advances Marriage Equality Bill | Hawaii Reporter

REPORT FROM THE STATE SENATE MAJORITY- The Hawaii State Senate today passed a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in the State of Hawaii.

“The Senate’s passage of this bill marks an historic step towards equality, fairness, and justice,” said Senator Clayton Hee, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor. “I look forward to working with our colleagues in the House as this measure moves forward.”

Senate Bill (SB) 1, Relating to Equal Rights, recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender. In addition, the measure extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage to which opposite-sex couples are presently entitled.

“This measure represents the Senate’s best effort to strike a balance between religious freedom and equal rights,” said Senator Hee. “Language has been included that preserves the sincerely held religious beliefs of religious organizations.”

via Senate Advances Marriage Equality Bill | Hawaii Reporter.

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Fox News: You can oppose non-discrimination law because being LGBT is just a ‘belief’ | The Raw Story

Fox News anchor Bret Baier suggested to his viewers on Wednesday that a good reason to oppose a law to prevent discrimination against LGBT people was that “beliefs” like sexual orientation could “conflict with a company’s goals.”

During a segment on Fox News’ Special Report, Baier noted that Democrats were pushing to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and that meant “religious freedom” would “take a backseat to another kind of freedom.”

Reporter Shannon Bream pointed out that many religious institutions opposed the bill because they could be forced to “hire a transgender teacher.”

via Fox News: You can oppose non-discrimination law because being LGBT is just a ‘belief’ | The Raw Story.

John McCain worried ENDA will lead to “reverse discrimination” – Salon.com

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would criminalize workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, is set to get a vote in the Senate sometime before Thanksgiving, but while the support of 57 Democrats (and Independent Bernie Sanders) seems likely, it still falls short of a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

In an effort to push that number over the top, advocates and supporters of the bill have focused on a handful of Republican senators, including Arizona’s John McCain. But McCain has shown some resistance to supporting the bill, telling the Huffington Post that he worries it might inspire “reverse discrimination.”

via John McCain worried ENDA will lead to “reverse discrimination” – Salon.com.

Opinion: Workplace fairness for all – Chad Griffin – POLITICO.com

From Main Street to Wall Street, this country’s belief in the American Dream remains strong, even unshakable during the tough economic times of the last few years. This is what is so uniquely great about the United States – our shared commitment to turning that dream into reality.

But for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, the uphill climb to economic security has pitfalls along the way. Currently, there are no state laws protecting LGBT employees from workplace discrimination in a majority of states — a fact that most Americans would be shocked to learn. Hardworking and qualified LGBT employees, like all employees, need to provide for themselves and their families, and must have the same opportunity to be judged on job performance and merit — nothing more, nothing less.

Right now, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – or ENDA — would help change that. ENDA simply adds sexual orientation and gender identity to existing employment protections — like those that already exist for race, religion, gender and disability.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/opinion-chad-griffin-workplace-fairness-for-all-99072.html#ixzz2jdJTbDjD

via Opinion: Workplace fairness for all – Chad Griffin – POLITICO.com.

Defense Secretary Hagel calls out 9 states for refusing to issue military IDs to same-sex spouses – U.S. News

Nine states that continue refuse to issue military IDs to same-sex spouses of service members at National Guard facilities are “wrong” and causing “division among the ranks” that furthers prejudice, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.

He called out the states for the first time in a speech before the Anti-Defamation League in New York City.Hagel said he has directed the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Frank Grass, to “take immediate action to remedy this situation,” and to “meet with the Adjutants General from the states where these ID cards are being denied.

“Texas this summer announced a “potential conflict” between state law, which does not allow same-sex marriage and the U.S. Department of Defense policy. The Defense Department is now abiding by a Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act that banned federal recognition of gay marriages.

Texas, meanwhile, said the state would not issue ID cards to same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities, saying  those identity cards can only be obtained at federal facilities in the state.

Since Texas’ decision, eight other states have made similar decisions: Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia.

via Defense Secretary Hagel calls out 9 states for refusing to issue military IDs to same-sex spouses – U.S. News.

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Gay Rights Protesters Target Sochi Olympic Sponsors Coke, McDonalds and Samsung – Forbes

With exactly 100 days to go until the Sochi Olympics, gay rights protesters have launched a handful of social media campaigns against longtime sponsors Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Samsung, voicing concerns over Russia’s anti-gay legislation.

“Sochi potentially is the danger Games,” one marketing executive tells The Chicago Tribune. “With these major world events, companies are looking for a halo effect for the brand. Sochi is big and high profile but such events are becoming platforms for social and political protest.

The International Olympic Committee has already acknowledged that sponsors, who pay roughly $100 million for marketing rights, are concerned about the legislation’s impact.

“I have heard a lot from the sponsors, especially the American sponsors, of what they are afraid of might happen,” IOC marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heiberg told CNN. “I think this could ruin a lot for all of us.”

One current online campaign is calling for Coca-Cola executives to speak out against the anti-gay law.

By Monday, 350,000 people worldwide signed an online petition circulated by SumOfUs.org, a global consumer watchdog organization.

“Coca-Cola is an incredibly important position of power and has the ability to influence both the International Olympic Committee and Russian leaders,” Joe Mirabella, Director of

via Gay Rights Protesters Target Sochi Olympic Sponsors Coke, McDonalds and Samsung – Forbes.

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Christie withdraws same-sex marriage challenge, as NJ recognizes unions | Fox News

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday withdrew his challenge to legalized same-sex marriage in the state, after a court determined that the appeal is not likely to prevail.

The decision by Christie came as, in response to the court move, the state on Monday began to recognize same-sex marriages. Christie’s administration formally withdrew the appeal in a letter to the state Supreme Court.

“Although the Governor strongly disagrees with the Court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the Court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “The Governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.”

via Christie withdraws same-sex marriage challenge, as NJ recognizes unions | Fox News.

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