It's looking more and more likely that Congress will pass hate crimes legislation just in time for the National Equality March this weekend. Last night, the House voted down a Republican measure to strip hate crimes language from the Defense Appropriations bill and passed the entire bill.
Next the bill goes to a conference committee where differences between the Senate and House versions get condensed into one final report. The report is expected to be published this afternoon. The House is expected to finalize action tomorrow on the combined legislation and the Senate could pass the measure as early as Friday.
Obama's much ballyhooed speech at the HRC National Dinner would, no doubt, be a much larger success if he comes bearing a legislative victory in his hands. It will also help to turn the mood of the march from irritation that Obama hasn't done enough for LGBT rights into a celebration of the first piece of federal LGBT civil rights law.
If the administration can pull it off, it's brilliant public relations - not only does it give them a positive impression on participants and the entire LGBT voting base, but it also frames the story for the media in such a nice neat box that hardly journalists will step outside what the administration wants reported: "Obama Delivers LGBT Rights Law: Gays Celebrate."
What do you think? Will it pass by Sunday?