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Quigley "Hopeful" for Some LGBT Gains... After November

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Aug 20, 2010 5:20PM

2010_08_20_quigleyenda.jpg Per a recent interview with Gay Chicago Magazine, staunch LGBT ally U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) is reportedly "hopeful" for progress on a number of pieces of queer-centric legislation in Congress yet this year, but has admitted it's unlikely LGBT issues will see much movement prior to this fall's midterm elections.

Quigley, instead, is looking to the post-election "lame duck session" for the repeal of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy on gay men and lesbians, LGBT-inclusive comprehensive immigration reform and even a moratorium on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' prohibition of gay male blood donors. "You’re going to see a lot of what we call messaging,” Quigley told Gay Chicago. "I’m more hopeful about the lame duck session ... I have faith that we’re going to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell."

One piece of legislation Quigley admitted is not likely to catch wind anytime soon is the Obama and Pelosi-supported Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would federally prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression in the workplace. The Illinois Human Rights Act, amended to pertain to LGBT workers in 2005, protects queer Illinoisans but it is currently legal in 29 other states to fire an employee for being gay, lesbian or bisexual. Without ENDA, it also remains legal in 38 states to fire an employee due to their gender identity or expression.

Robin McGehee, co-founder of GetEQUAL, a national LGBT direct action group, said the queer community has waited long enough for federal employment protection - over forty years have passed since ENDA's first legislative incarnation was introduced.

"We're tired of legislators telling us that basic job protections for LGBTQ Americans are politically inconvenient - that some are more concerned with securing their own jobs than those of their constituents," McGehee wrote in an e-mail blast Friday.

Thirteen LGBT activists demanding Sen. Dick Durbin take a more active stance in passing ENDA were arrested for staging a sit-in at Durbin's office in the Loop earlier this year. Similar demonstrations demanding action on the legislation have been staged nationwide in recent months, with more reportedly on the way here in Chicago and elsewhere.