The U.S. House is ready to approve two
pro-gay bills, openly lesbian Wisconsin Representative Tammy Baldwin
said Saturday at the 2009 International Gay & Lesbian Leadership
Conference sponsored by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
At the San Francisco meeting which
opened Thursday, Baldwin told attendees that she expects a domestic
partner benefits bill will reach the House floor this year and a bill
that bans employment discrimination early next year, the AP reported.
Baldwin is the sponsor of the Domestic
Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009 (DPBO), which would
extend benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees. Both
chambers of congress have held hearings on the bill. And in
November, a House committee gave its approval of the bill.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act
(ENDA) would prohibit workplace discrimination on
the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA enjoys
strong support in the House committee reviewing the legislation, but
a November 18 final markup of the legislation was postponed.
An attempt to repeal the military's ban
on open gay service will come next fall. Baldwin said she was
confident the measure will be tucked inside the military's 2011
The House, which is generally more
liberal than the Senate, is expected to easily approve all three
measures, but the bills will likely face a steeper incline in the
Senate, where Democrats hold a slim majority.
“I'm hopeful we will see those three
pieces of legislation make it all the way, or damn close,” Baldwin
A second openly gay member of the
House, Jared Polis of Colorado, agreed with Baldwin's assessment, and
John Berry, the highest-ranking openly gay official in the Obama
administration, said the president supports the measures.
“The tide of public opinion is in our
favor,” Berry said. “The forces of intolerance are on the run.
We have a president who has been clear in his support for our
community and in his commitment to our equality. This is the best
opportunity we will have as a community, and shame on us if we don't