Kate Kendell

And Now, Two Steps Forward

Filed By Kate Kendell | November 05, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: employment discrimination, gay marriage, Kalamazoo, labor, lesbian, LGBT, Maine, marriage, marriage equality, Michigan, Question 1, r-71, same-sex marriage, transgender, Washington, workplace protections

Even as we took the sucker punch of losing marriage equality in Maine by popular vote, we saw history made and in the making in Kalamazoo, Michigan and--hopefully--Washington State.

In Kalamazoo voters strongly backed an ordinance which protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation.

In Washington state, which votes by mail, it now appears very clear that the comprehensive Domestic Partner law passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor will now become law. Our opponents had placed on the ballot a measure to repeal the law. Voters, by a too-close-for-comfort margin, seem to have voted to approve the legislation.

Today, the Senate holds a historic hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would forbid discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Workplace discrimination affects every member of our community and today, federal protections are finally within reach. ENDA has been repeatedly introduced in the House and Senate since 1994. This session, we have more support for an inclusive bill than ever before. At last, passing ENDA is no longer a dream, but a reality. If we all work very hard and make our voices heard we could see passage of this historic and long-needed legislation in the coming months.

And so it goes. The familiar trajectory of every movement for civil and human rights. Days of crushing disappointment, days of cautious optimism at incremental progress, days when a historic victory changes the landscape forever. Our movement has had all such days. Too many of the first and not enough of the latter, that is for damn sure however. So, you want more historic victories? I agree. Let's get to work.

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Yes, to work, to work! The Senate is where our work is needed, and we need 4 more yes votes. Here's the list of the 14 uncommitted Senators, and start dialing! Click here.

The Michigan State House cited the victory in Kalamazoo for the impetus to vote on HB1492 in the house judiciary committee. Passing 5 to 4 it will now go to the floor for debate.In it's present form it needs work and stands little chance of making it out of the Senate Judiciary committee but, as a friend of mine told me "don't knock the inspiration". She's right, It could have died in committee and who knows when it would have been brought up again?
So, Thanks Jillian. Let's all get to work!

ps: Thanks EJ

Everything builds on what came before - positives and negatives. As the history of our people is told in years to come, all of this will be woven into the tapestry of our time working in the movement.