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Breaking: Senate votes to approve ENDA

Today the U.S. Senate voted to approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a law that prohibits discrimination against LGBT employees in the workforce.

Sixty-one members of the Senate in a bipartisan effort voted to approve the bill that has languished in Congress for some 20 years. The 61-30 vote means ENDA clears the cloture requirement needed for a floor debate and final vote on the bill expected to come later this week.

House Speaker John Boehner, however, has said he is opposed to the legislation meaning it will not likely pass.

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Delaware becomes 11th state with marriage equality

Just minutes before the Delaware Senate was set to vote on its marriage equality bill, a Democrat senator who had been quiet about how she would vote announced on her Facebook page that she would vote yes. The announcement by Senator Bethany Hall-Long, who represents Dover, the state capital, came just minutes after the city’s other Democratic senator, Karen Peterson, came out as gay on the floor during debate.

The final roll call vote, after three hours of debate, was 12 to 9, with the gallery erupting into loud and prolonged applause. The twelve supporters included one Republican; the nine opponents included two Democrats.

Just minutes later, Democratic Governor Jack Markell signed the bill, making Delaware the eleventh state plus the District of Columbia to provide for equal protection under its marriage laws.     Meanwhile, a Minnesota House Ways and Means Committee gave the marriage equality bill there a green light Monday, and the House floor is scheduled to vote on the measure Thursday (May 9). Democratic Governor Mark Dayton is lobbying actively for the measure.

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Vote for Ga. Rep. Karla Drenner to speak to ‘Next Generation’

State Rep. Karla Drenner, Georgia's first openly gay state legislator, needs your vote now — not to return to the Gold Dome, she already did that — but to win a chance to speak at the Next Generation of Government Training Summit.

Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) is one of 15 finalists, all seeking a chance to win to speak to more than 650 young people at the esteemed conference held July 25-26 in Washington, D.C.

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Gay activists praise Rhode Island’s marriage equality vote while NOM predicts dire consequences

R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee

Yesterday, the Rhode Island state senate approved a same-sex marriage bill that will almost certainly see the small, New England state enact marriage equality. The state's House of Representatives had already passed similar legislation and Gov. Lincoln Chafee has promised to sign.

Rhode Island would be the 10th U.S. state to allow such unions to be performed in its jurisdiction.

Freedom to Marry's National Campaign Director Marc Solomon hailed the victory and thanked local politicos for their efforts in a statement released yesterday:

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From Congress to marriage equality, much at stake on Election Day

Congressional candidates

From the chance to elect the nation’s first openly gay U.S. senator to the nation’s first state referendum to pro-actively legalize same-sex marriage, Nov. 6 could prove historic for LGBT equality.

Here are 10 key contests to watch around the country on Election Day.

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State of Black Gay America Summit seeks to inspire change through ‘collective power’

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The sixth annual State of Black Gay America Summit over Labor Day weekend covered a broad range of topics over the course of the day on Sept. 1 — from HIV prevention medicines and the need for volunteers in vaccine research to the specifics of the Affordable Care Act to how much money does it cost to run an effective campaign in Atlanta and Georgia.

Keynote speaker Je-Shawna Wholley, a recent Spelman graduate who now lives in Washington, D.C., and is a senior fellow at the National Black Justice Coalition, tackled the subject of this year's theme at the summit at the Melia Hotel. "Embracing Our Collective Power to Influence Change" must be made by building coalitions and being sincere in the work people do, Wholley said.

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Poll: Mainers poised to endorse marriage equality

Equality Maine

WBUR, Boston's NPR radio station, released its findings from a recent poll on the upcoming elections in Maine. Among the questions asked was whether or not participants favored a referendum that would legalize same-sex marriage. 55 percent of those polled favored the referendum, while only 36 percent were opposed.

From the poll:

Maine’s referendum legalizing same-sex marriage appears likely to pass: WBUR’s poll follows national polls, which show increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage. The WBUR poll shows Democrats and independents favor the measure, while Republicans oppose it.

It's no surprise that the state's Republicans oppose the referendum.

Maine's legislature originally passed same-sex marriage rights in 2009, but a referendum on the issue in November of that year saw the law overturned.