The following marks the measurable activity of the LGBT Equality Caucus in the House of Representatives from October 19 (the date of our last update on the caucus) to December 23, 2009:
On October 28, President Barack Obama signed into law a Defense authorization bill containing legislation defining violence against people on the basis of sexual orientation to be a “hate crime” punishable by extra jail time. This provision was supported overall by the LGBT Equality Caucus, although 21 members of the caucus did not support the bill which was eventually incorporated into the DOD package.
H.R. 2625 extends the tax benefit to federal filers of deducting the cost of health coverage for spouses from gross income so that the reduction also applies to the cost of health coverage provided for same-sex domestic partners. Caucus members Barbara Lee and Peter Welch added their cosponsorship of the bill on November 6.
H.R. 2709 embeds the Uniting American Families Act within a broader bill to rationalize and provide equity in family immigration rules not only for same-sex couples, but for other non-traditional and exceptional family circumstances as well. Caucus members Phil Hare, Mike Quigley and Luis Gutierrez added their cosponsorships of this bill on various dates in November and December.
The other 13 bills in the LGBT equality slate saw no action during the period.
Nearly a year into the 111th Congress, six members of the LGBT Equality Caucus still have declared their support for only a quarter — or less — of the LGBT equality slate of 16 bills. These least supportive members of the LGBT Equality Caucus are: