Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Good Day! Two legislative victories for LGBT America

The U.S. House just passed a bill adding LGBT citizens to the federal hate crimes statutes. The vote was 249-175 with 18 Republicans voting yes and 17 Democrats voting no. (This is per my viewing of the live coverage on C-Span.)

Meanwhile, The New Hampshire Senate ignored a committee recommendation and passed a same-sex marriage bill today. The bill has already passed the New Hampshire House.

Both measures face obstacles.

The hate crimes debate now moves to the U.S. Senate where a proposal introduced by Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen.Patrick Leahy will be considered. This bill has more than 30 co-sponsors, including a handful of Republicans and newly minted Democrat, Sen. Arlen Specter. The question now will be whether it can get either a majority or the magic 60-vote margin to end a possible filibuster. The Senate moves sloooowly, so don't expect immediate action.

In New Hampshire, the marriage bill will go to a conference committee, which has to iron out differences between the proposals passed by the two legislative chambers. Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, hasn't said whether he will sign the bill, and he has indicated opposition in the past.

All in all, a very good day for fairness in the United States of America, but much remains to be done.

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