The gays haven’t had a great week like this since, well, June, when the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality in California and struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. A 15th gay-marriage state, two gay mayors, one coming out and one historic vote against employment discrimination all happened in the past five days.
On Aug. 15, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) threw his hat into the ring to run for governor. On Nov. 4, he came out of the closet. Responding to “insinuations” that he is gay, Michaud wrote, “Yes, I am. But why should it matter?” Clearly, it doesn’t, since his big reveal caused nary a ripple. And that’s a wonderful thing.
Voters in Houston made history in 2009 when they elected an openly gay woman as their mayor. On Nov. 5, the people of the nation’s fourth-largest city sent Annise Parker back to city hall for a third and final two-year term. That same night, Washington state Sen. Ed Murray was elected Seattle’s first openly gay mayor. Oh, and the Illinois state House and Senate moved a marriage equality bill to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn (D), who will sign it into law on Nov. 20. This will make Illinois the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
By a vote of 64 to 32, the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). And it did so with the help of Mormons in that body. This was the first vote on the legislation since it failed by one vote in 1996. That the measure includes gender identity is a huge victory for transgender Americans.
But here’s the one cloud in all this. ENDA’s prospects in the House are less than rosy, which is why gay-rights groups are pushing President Obama to issue an executive order extending employment discrimination protection to federal contractors. It’s been sitting on his desk for a while.
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