Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) made the comments today at a Center for American Progress forum geared toward highlighting the importance of the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act, which would grant the partners of gay federal employees the same benefits that are available to the spouses of straight counterparts.
...Baldwin said she is "very optimistic" that ENDA and a hate crimes measure would pass Congress next session, particularly if Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, who has supported these initiatives, take the White House.
Tammy Baldwin on upcoming legislation, Gordon Smith on John McCainFollow @freedom2marry
The congresswoman also said she expects progress on the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act, which has not moved this session from the House and Senate committees to which it had been assigned.
But Baldwin said the success in "repealing discriminatory laws" already on the books "is a little less clear."
"I think we will see more discretion on those - whether or not it can move to next level of repeal will be a challenge," she said.
I'm guessing she means the sexual orientation only version of the ENDA will get passed this year. I agree - if it actually does get through the Senate (and after November the majority will most likely be friendlier), there's no way a president Obama will veto it, trans-inclusive or not.
"Repealing discriminatory laws already on the books" probably refers to DADT and DOMA. The former shouldn't be all that hard if Democrats make a credible effort; DADT is polling pretty badly. DOMA will be a harder piece of legislation to get rid of.
And she continued after the CAP discussion:
Baldwin told the Blade she did not "have a perfect crystal ball" for what would happen in the next Congress, but said she thinks it would be easier to "hit the ground running" with ENDA and a hate crimes measure as opposed to other initiatives.
She noted that Congress has already taken some action on ENDA and hate crimes this session, so lawmakers are familiar with those issues and more willing to take up the matters again next year.
Baldwin also said there are difficulties in repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act because some of the lawmakers who voted for these measures in the 1990s are still in Congress.
So there we go.
The generally queer-friendly and anti-war Gordon Smith (R-OR) was also at the discussion. He talked a bit about McCain:
Smith, who was recently endorsed by Log Cabin Republicans, said McCain has "been with [him] on a number of gay and lesbian issues," but did not during the panel discussion mention any issues they agreed upon.
"I know John McCain's heart," he said. "I just never found John McCain really hard over on these issues -- or ideologically driven on these issues."
Of course he's with us on a number of issues! That number happens to be zero, but it's still a number!
I'm not saying that he's ideologically driven. He can't even decide what church to attend; he's not a Christian hard-liner.
But it's pretty obvious that he's willing to pander to anyone who'll vote for him, and he's sought out the endorsements of the Religious Right by promising everything from no peace in Israel to more Alitos and Robertses, from overturning Roe to making sure no LGBT legislation gets passed.
Personally, I don't care why he's not going to work with us, just that he's not going to work with us.