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ENDA vote to come before Thanksgiving

A vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act could come before Thanksgiving, according to sources in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Blade reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will announce today that he will bring ENDA to the floor for a vote possibly as soon as next week.

ENDA, a federal bill that would prohibit employers discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, has languished in Congress for years.

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Marietta attorney enters GOP race for Saxby Chambliss’ seat — and supports gay marriage

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Attorney Art Gardner of Marietta announced today he is running for the GOP nomination to replace outgoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss — and he is not afraid to say he supports same-sex marriage.

“81 percent of Americans under 30 believe in marriage equality. How can our party expect to win, if we exclude major segments of the population with divisive social policies?” Gardner said, citing a Washington Post/ABC poll, in a press release today announcing his candidacy.

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[Video] Rest assured, Michele Bachmann, don’t let the door hit you on the way out

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U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) and former presidential candidate is throwing in the towel by announcing via YouTube she is not seeking reelection next year. Watch the video of her announcement by clicking here.

She will spend the remaining 18 months of her term working 100-hour weeks and uphold family values, she stresses. And of course, who can forget all the hard work she's done to call out Muslim terrorists?

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U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) supports gay marriage

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U.S. Rep. David Scott, a Democrat, is now the third member of Congress from Georgia to speak out in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples. Scott joins Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson, also Democrats from the Atlanta area.

"Congressman Scott fully supports marriage equality," stated an email from Scott's spokesperson received by gay blog Joe.My.God. yesterday.

 The blog reached out to Scott's office after a reader said that he and his partner met with Scott and he told them he supported marriage equality.

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Obama includes LGBT issues in State of the Union

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President Obama continued his trend of including references to LGBT people in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, but he drew mixed reviews from community leaders.

Early in the one-hour speech, Obama told Congress and the national television audience, “It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.”

Later, talking about the military, he said, “We will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight.”

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Baldwin makes history as first out gay U.S. senator

Tammy Baldwin

Tuesday’s election makes Tammy Baldwin the first openly gay person to serve in the U.S. Senate and brings the tally of LGBT members of the U.S. House to at least five.

"People ... see our country and our states moving toward full equality in many respects," Baldwin told CNN the morning after the election. "When you have legislative bodies that look more like America, that happens."

Baldwin is also the first woman to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

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Romney VP pick Paul Ryan backed bans on gay marriage, adoption

GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s chosen running mate, supports amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and has voted to stop gay couples in Washington, D.C., from adopting children.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and presumptive Republican presidential nominee, announced Ryan as his vice presidential nominee Aug. 11. The sparked criticism from LGBT political groups concerned about Ryan’s record as a U.S. congressman from Wisconsin.

The Romney-Ryan ticket “could roll back much of the progress we’ve seen toward full equality,” the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT political group, argued in a press release.

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First trans witness testifies at Senate ENDA hearing

Al FrankenGetting Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is no easy task, obviously, especially when it comes to the gender identity part. I mean, the anti-gay bigots are frothing at the mouth thinking about who will be using what bathroom.

But today the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee held a hearing on ENDA and included a transgender witness to testify about his experiences. This is the same Congress that likes to discuss birth control with no women present, so no doubt this was a major victory for LGBT and ENDA activists.

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Lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin to keynote HRC Atlanta Dinner

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin

The Human Rights Campaign has announced its keynote speaker for the upcoming HRC Atlanta Dinner and Awards Gala.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wi.), who represents the state's 2nd Congressional District, will be the dinner's featured keynote speaker. Baldwin, a candidate for one of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seats, is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and one of only four openly gay members to serve in the U.S. Congress. She was the first person to be openly gay when elected to Congress (others had come out while in office) and if successful in her current campaign, would be the first openly gay U.S. senator.

The HRC says of Baldwin:

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Obama mentions gay soldiers in State of the Union, but was it enough?

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President Barack Obama briefly mentioned gay soldiers in his third State of the Union address last night.

Sitting in attendance with First Lady Michelle Obama were Loreliei Kilker and Cononel Ginger Wallace, two out and proud lesbian women. Kilker was awarded a monetary settlement after an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation found systemic sex discrimination at her previous employment. Wallace and her partner, Kathy Knoph, participated together in Wallace's recent promotion ceremony, the first promotion ceremony featuring a same-sex couple after the repeal of the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy.

The president didn't mention either Kilker or Wallace in his address. His only mention of anything close to acknowledging the gay rights struggle came just four paragraphs from the end of his speech.

Which brings me back to where I began. Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one Nation, leaving no one behind.

Reaction to the speech was mixed among gay rights groups.