Advocates this week joined Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the lead sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the Senate, in expressing renewed optimism that Congress will make progress on banning employment discrimination against LGBT Americans, but there is disagreement about how much support the effort needs from President Barack Obama. "I'm certain the president will be there when we need the president to be there. But it would not help this bill for it to be the president's top priority," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. It's been more than a decade since a similar bill was marked up in a Senate committee.

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