Religious Exemptions or Not, Lobbying Continues for ENDA
BY Michelle Garcia
July 10 2014 4:00 AM ET
Rep. Nick Rahall
Republican, West Virginia
All Rahall needs to do is look to his West Virginia colleagues in the Senate to see that he wouldn't be the lone Democrats to support ENDA.
"Both of the West Virginia senators, Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, voted for ENDA last fall, and their leadership has laid the foundation for Representative Rahall to be the latest House Democrat to cosponsor ENDA," Berle says. "Rahall has voted for pro-LGBT legislation in the past, and he has the opportunity to continue the legacy of West Virginians standing on the side basic fairness for all workers."
Rahall was among the first Democrats to sign on to the proposed 2013 Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have written a ban on same-sex marriage into the U.S. Constitution. Though he is a conservative Democrat, Rahall voted to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and supported both the LGBT-inclusive VAWA and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act .
Rep. Mike McIntyre
Democrat, North Carolina
McIntyre announced earlier this year that he will retire at the end of this term, so perhaps this might be the Democrat's last chance to support at least one major piece of pro-LGBT legislation.
"Representative McIntyre's record during his tenure in Congress is hugely out of step with the Democratic caucus in his hostility to the LGBT community," Berle says. "From his support for the anti-family Federal Marriage Amendment to his votes against the Matthew Shepard Act in 2009 and repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' in 2010, his record is one that will set him on the wrong side of history. If McIntyre has any interest in rectifying his past votes, he will join the overwhelming number of Democrats who support LGBT workplace protections."
Though McIntyre might be averse to the bill, several North Carolina-based employers are major supporters of their LGBT workers. He also can look to the example of one of his state's U.S. senators, Kay Hagan, who voted for ENDA in November.