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Nelson latest to announce support for ENDA

Pryor, Manchin only Democrats who haven’t announced support for bill

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Bill Nelson, United States Senate, Florida, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade
Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) (center, top row) was one of three Democrats who continued to holdout on publicly announcing support for ENDA. The remaining two are Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.). (Photos public domain)

After months of lobbying and public pressure, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) on Monday became the 54th sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

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.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) chief sponsor of ENDA, praised Nelson for announcing his support for the legislation.

“I am pleased to have Sen. Nelson’s support on this bill,” Merkley said. “Momentum is building to end LGBT discrimination in the workplace. This is an issue of fundamental fairness.”

Nelson was one of three Democrats who continued to holdout on publicly announcing support for ENDA. The remaining two are Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.).

Tico Almeida, president of the LGBT group Freedom to Work, said Nelson was “slow” to support ENDA, but applauded him for coming on board.

“Senator Nelson is following the lead of Florida’s citizens and business leaders who stronly support ENDA,” Almeida said. “We think 100 percent of Democrats should support LGBT workplace protections, and we’ve teamed with MoveOn.org to petition the two remaining undeclared Democratic senators Manchin and Pryor.”

Nadine Smith, executive director of statewide LGBT group Equality Florida, said she’s proud to see Nelson “standing on the right side of history and standing up for the values of equality and fairness.”

“He is a leader who listens to the facts and has also listened to his heart,” Smith said. “He has sat down with us many times and heard first hand the stories of the harm inflicted by discrimination. His sponsorship matters as others in the Senate including Republicans look to his leadership on issues.”

ENDA is described on Thomas as having 55 co-sponsors, but two of the senators listed — former Sens. Mo Cowan and the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg — are no longer in the Senate, bringing the number of co-sponsor back to 53. Counting Merkley, the legislation now has 54 sponsors.

Another supporter of ENDA who isn’t yet a co-sponsor is Senator-elect Cory Booker, a Democrat who’s known for his support for the LGBT community and married gay couples on the first day same-sex marriage came to New Jersey.

Republicans Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also voted for ENDA in committee. That means the legislation now has 57 votes, which is three short of overcoming a filibuster.

The Florida Democrat’s support arguably places the legislation well ahead of any other legislation specific to an LGBT issues in terms of the number of co-sponsors. Since Sen. Jay Rockfeller became a supporter, ENDA has exceeded the number of co-sponsors for legislation that led to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal in 2010 and the 2001 version of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

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1 Comment

  1. Sloan Wiesen

    October 30, 2013 at 4:06 am

    Wish the Blade would start featuring a dozen of the most likely Republican Senators to urge to support ENDA. We can only win this in a bipartisan way. If Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) managed to support it there have to be about 10 other Republican senators who could successfully come on board when they see enough constituent support for ENDA as a bill that advances both equal rights and religious liberty. Spread the word, call your senators at 202-224-3121 and urge them to pass ENDA now.

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Politics

Anti-LGBTQ Daily Wire host says 2 men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt babies

” […] because babies need mothers. They also need fathers, which is why two women shouldn’t be allowed either.”

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Screenshot of Matt Walsh via YouTube (Blade file photo)

NASHVILLE – Anti-LGBTQ Daily Wire podcast and YouTuber Matt Walsh joined the growing chorus of far-right and conservative voices outraged that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg went on paternity leave from his job in August after he and his husband Chasten had adopted two children.

On his show Monday Walsh not only criticized Buttigieg, but he attacked same-sex couples adopting children altogether.

It’s absurd for any public employee, paid on taxpayer dime, to be given that much time off. Now, you can make an argument for women on maternity leave but not for men. Paternity leave is a nice luxury for private companies that can afford it. The U.S. government is not a private company – it’s a public institution, deeply in debt, failing in just about every way and everywhere. So this is not a time and not the place for those kinds of luxuries. But that’s the somewhat safer point to make, right? You are in a much more hazardous place, you are in more hazardous waters when you go away from that and, instead, you start saying mildly critical things about paternity leave in general as a concept.”

I also didn’t say that there’s nothing at all for a man to do for his family after a child is born. I said that as far as caring for the newborn himself, most of that is going to be done by the mother. She, in most cases, will be feeding the child. The child also needs and wants his mother’s presence, his mother’s touch, her voice. The father should be interacting with the baby also, obviously, but the infant is far more focused on his mother at that age. And needs his mother more. There is no mother in the Buttigieg household, but that doesn’t change the point here.”

Babies need their mothers, which is why two men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt babies in the first place. And the outrage mob can now start a secondary campaign over that comment. But I’ll say it again. Two men should not be allowed to adopt babies because babies need mothers. They also need fathers, which is why two women shouldn’t be allowed either.

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Politics

Pete Buttigieg calls out Tucker Carlson over attack

Fox News host mocked transportation secretary over paternity leave

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (Washington Blade file photo)

Appearing remotely on MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace’s politics program Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson for the attack on his parental leave.

“This attack is coming from a guy who has yet to explain his apparent approval for the assassination of Harvey Milk, ” Buttigieg said.

During his Thursday evening program Carlson said, “Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child—paternity leave, they call it—trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went. But now he’s back in office as the transportation secretary and he’s deeply amused, he says, to see that dozens of container ships can’t get into this country.”

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Biden recognizes National Coming Out Day as time to honor LGBTQ people

White House statement denounces ‘bullying and harassment’

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President Biden recognized Oct. 11 as National Coming Out Day in a statement on Monday calling the occasion a time to celebrate the “courage of LGBTQ+ people who live their lives with pride, create community with open arms and hearts, and showcase the strength of being your authentic self.”

Biden ticked off in the statement the achievements on LGBTQ policy, including signing an executive order on his first day in his office ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year against anti-LGBTQ discrimination to the furthest extent possible.

“Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures,” Biden said. “Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character. We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere.”

Read Biden’s full statement below:

Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on National Coming Out Day

Today, we celebrate National Coming Out Day and the courage of LGBTQ+ people who live their lives with pride, create community with open arms and hearts, and showcase the strength of being your authentic self. Today and every day, I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are – regardless of whether or not you’ve come out.

My Administration is committed to ensuring that LGBTQ+ people can live openly, proudly, and freely in every corner of our nation. I am proud to lead an Administration with LGBTQ+ officials serving openly at the highest levels of government — and prouder that together we have made historic progress advancing protections and equal opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community. From acting on Day One to prevent and combat discrimination, to enabling all qualified Americans – including transgender Americans – to serve their country in uniform, to defending the human rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world, my Administration has been clear that we will continue to champion the dignity, equality, and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures. Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character. We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere. From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act, we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment, and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love.

To LGBTQ+ people across the country, and especially those who are contemplating coming out: know that you are loved for who you are, you are admired for your courage, and you will have a community — and a nation — to welcome you. My Administration will always have your back, and we will continue fighting for the full measure of equality, dignity, and respect you deserve.

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