By Burgess Everett
If everything goes as planned, gay rights history will be made on Thursday in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday set up the the final series of votes for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — which prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity — culminating in a vote final passage on Thursday afternoon if the bill passes a key, 60-vote threshold procedural test in the morning.
Senate passage of ENDA seemed more and more likely Wednesday after the Senate unanimously accepted an amendment by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) protecting religious groups exempted under the legislation from government retaliation. That amendment likely secured the vote of several other Republicans pushing for that language, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
By Ian Reifowitz
I’ll leave the legal analysis to others who are far more expert than I on that matter.
My point is this: for all those who may have temporarily, let’s say, forgotten or even denied that there is any substantive difference between the Democratic and Republican parties, this decision should remind you exactly what those differences are.
The decision was 5-4. The justices who voted to declare parts of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional were all appointed by Republican presidents, including two by George W. Bush, who took in office in 2001.
Do you still think there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats?
Look, this has not been a good couple of weeks for our government, and a lot of liberals have been rightly agonizing over just how much they support the Democratic Party.
To those people, I say this: Criticize President Obama all you like, and criticize the Democratic Party or various figures for whatever you think needs criticizing. It’s important to speak out, as speaking out can help move our party and the President in the right direction.
But don’t forget that there are real, substantive differences between the two parties. They are not the same. The Democratic Party is better than the Republican Party for our country, for our economy, for justice, for equality, and yes, for liberty. Barack Obama is better than Mitt Romney or John McCain would have been on all those counts as well.
To deny those facts is to deny reality. Furthermore, denying those facts makes it more difficult to motivate progressives to do what needs to be done to achieve the broad, progressive goals we share.
The two parties are not the same. And that matters. [Full Quote]
THE U.S. SENATE