Ayotte’s bipartisan coup

More than just slightly noticeable the past several weeks is U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s efforts to forge bipartisan solutions on Capitol Hill. The New Hampshire Republican was at the forefront of bringing an end to the government shutdown, and this week took center stage attempting to protect the civil liberties of people with non-traditional sexual orientations.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, had been stalled over the issue of providing legal protection for religious groups exempt from the law. Ayotte and fellow Republican Rob Portman, of Ohio, offered an amendment that prohibits federal, state and local governments from retaliating against those groups.

The bill passed the Senate on Thursday and, if it becomes law, would be a major victory for gay rights. However, the bill’s prospects are much less hopeful in the more stridently conservative House, where Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is not a fan.

Still, it is encouraging to witness the willingness of Ayotte to be a catalyst for reasonable and reasoned compromise.


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