New Development: Senate To Vote On DOMA Bill And ENDA Bill On Tuesday Sept. 10 - Debate On ENDA Starts Today

September 08, 1996


Contact your Senators and tell them to say NO to Discrimination and YES to Fairness by voting NO on the DOMA bill (S1740) and YES on the ENDA bill (S 2056). IT IS IMPORTANT TO TELL YOUR SENATORS THAT THEIR VOTE ON BOTH BILLS IS VERY IMPORTANT.

On Tuesday, September 10, the Senate will make two historic votes affecting the lives of millions of Americans. Under a new agreement reached late Thursday night, the Senate will hold separate votes on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with NO AMENDMENTS permitted on either bill.

If you have not previously contacted your Senators on either the DOMA bill or ENDA issue, please do so right away - this may be your last opportunity to do so since there are not many days left in this session of Congress. Even if you have contacted your Senators before, please do so again as a way of letting them know that we know there are two separate votes coming up next week.

CONTACT YOUR SENATORS BY PHONE OR FAX RIGHT AWAY AND URGE YOUR FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES TO DO SO AS WELL. BOTH OF THESE VOTES ARE HISTORIC AND YOUR SENATORS NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THEIR VOTES. To talk to your Senators' offices in Washington D.C., call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your two Senators phone and fax numbers. If you don't know who your Senators are tell them what state you live in and they will tell you - they can connect with an office right away. Ask to speak with the staff person handling DOMA.

You can also send a telegram to both your Senators by using the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's marriage hotline number, 1-800-651-1482. (This call will send a telegram to both your Senators urging opposition to DOMA and support of the ENDA bill, and to the President urging him to NOT sign the DOMA bill - the call costs $9.95 to send the three telegrams which were drafted by NGLTF).

You can also send your Western Union request via EMAIL by clicking here!

Western Union Form


The terms of the previous agreement allowed a vote on ENDA as an amendment to the DOMA bill and that debate and discussion was to have happened on Thursday, September 5. When that agreement fell apart (because the Republicans proposed amendments to DOMA relating to the White House travel office issue and other controversial and unrelated issues), Senate Majority Leader Lott filed a petition forcing cloture on all debate on DOMA. Since Senator Kennedy and others knew they did not have the votes to defeat that motion, they would have been forced to proceed to a vote on DOMA on Tuesday, September 7. Under the Senate rules, no amendments unrelated to the underlying subject of the bill (marriage) are allowed under these circumstances, so neither the proposed ENDA or hate crimes amendments, referred to in the previous Action Alert, would have been allowed.

Under the new agreement reached last night both bills will come up for separate votes on Tuesday, with the DOMA vote scheduled for about 2:15pm and the ENDA vote about 2:45pm. ENDA debate began today, for 3 hours, and will continue after 5pm on Monday. On Tuesday, there will be 2 hours of debate on DOMA, evenly divided between proponents and opponents immediately prior to the DOMA vote. Following that vote there will be a 15 minute per side summary of the ENDA bill and then a vote on that bill. NO AMENDMENTS WILL BE ALLOWED ON EITHER BILL.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.