And with Supreme Court's ruling yesterday that DOMA is unconstitutional, Merkley may now have momentum to get ENDA passed:Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who led a group of 37 U.S. senators that sent a letter to President Obama in February calling on him to issue an executive order on the languishing Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), told PQ Monthly that before Sen. Ted Kennedy died in 2009, he asked the then-newly-elected Merkley to take over his battle for ENDA.
“I won’t rest till we can get this passed in the Senate,” Merkley said during an interview in his Portland office. While Oregon’s junior U.S. senator had hoped to set a hearing committee on the bill in May or June of this year, Merkley said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) — who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — is confident he’ll be able to set a hearing in July.
“I think we have very good odds of passing it,” Merkley said, pointing out that the legislation fell just one vote short in 1996, when Democrats only had a simple majority. - PQ Monthly, 6/6/13
Merkley wasted no time after the Supreme Court's decision to make the case for passing ENDA:Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., thinks he's closer to getting a floor vote on his bill to ban workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians in the wake of the landmark Supreme Court decisions Wednesday on gay marriage.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reiterated in a tweet that he intends to bring the bill to the floor, saying:Merkley, who is sponsoring the bill with three other senators, says the measure now has the formal support of 54 53 senators. He's just added Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D. - The Oregonian, 6/26/13
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. NV), who's niece is a lesbian, is serious about pushing for action of ENDA:Bill sponsor Sen. Jeff Merkley cited the high court’s historic rulings to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s gay-marriage ban as a beginning to an even larger legislative battle on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
“We need to make this year the year that ENDA is passed. We now have  co-sponsors and a lot of momentum so let’s make this year not only the year in which the fed[eral] government recognizes all marriage but also the year in which we ban discrimination for all LGBT Americans,” the Oregon Democrat said as he stood in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday.
ENDA, which would expand anti-discrimination laws to gays and lesbians, is scheduled for a July 10 markup in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Besides Merkley, the legislation’s 52 co-sponsors include all but three Senate Democrats. Two Republicans, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois and Susan Collins of Maine, have signed on to the bill. The three Democratic holdouts are Bill Nelson of Florida, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.
Gay rights supporters hope that the continuing shift in social attitudes and in the law regarding the LGBT community could help open a pathway for ENDA, at least in the Senate. The HELP Committee is likely to approve the bill, but passing it out of the full Senate will still be difficult and getting a gay rights measure moved in the GOP-controlled House is even more unlikely. - Roll Call, 6/26/13
And openly gay Senator Tammy Baldwin (D. WI) is working on getting Republican Senators and remaing uncommitted Democrats to throw their support behind ENDA:“But the fight for equality is not over. Too many Americans still face discrimination at their workplaces today because of their sexual orientation. Every American deserves to be free from job discrimination,” he said in a statement. “To make this the law of the land, I will soon bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act [ENDA] to the floor of the Senate for a vote.”
ENDA, which is widely supported by the American public, would protect the many Americans who live in the 29 states where there is no state law protecting them from being fired for their sexual orientation, or one of the 33 states for gender identity or expression
ENDA is also widely supported by the business community. A recent poll found that two-thirds of small businesses owners support the types of federal protections provided by ENDA, and almost 60% said they believed that the law would be helpful to the financial success of their business. - HCR Blog, 6/27/13
Senators Rob Portman (R. OH) & Lisa Murkowski (R. AK) came out for marriage equality. I think we should get them along with Manchin, Nelson and Pryor on board with this:As the Senate prepares to take up legislation that would bar workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) finds herself in a unique position as the only openly gay member of the chamber. And in the coming weeks, she will be meeting with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to get them to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
"It really is an opportunity to talk one-on-one and answer questions," she said.
Baldwin played a similar role in the House of Representatives, where she led the whip organization for the Equality Caucus and got her fellow lawmakers to back pro-LGBT bills.
In a Thursday interview with The Huffington Post, she said a Democratic senator approached her earlier in the day to ask her to explain ENDA in more detail and clarify some of the provisions.
"I said, 'Absolutely, we can sit down and do that anytime,'" said Baldwin. "I'll be having those same conversations with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle too."
Only three Democratic senators have not signed on to cosponsor ENDA: Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.). Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) are the only Republican senators supporting it so far. - Huffington Post, 6/27/13
Joe Manchin (D. WV): (202) 224-3954
Bill Nelson (D. FL): (202) 224-5274
Mark Pryor (D. AR): (202) 224-2353
Lisa Murkowski (R. AK): (202) 224-6665
Rob Portman (R. OH): (202) 224-3353
And as a way of saying thank you to Senator Merkley for continuing to fight to get ENDA passed, how about donating to his 2014 re-election campaign: