Is the long fight to pass ENDA going to soon end?
The long-stalled Employment Non-Discrimination Act was easily approved this morning by the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions by a vote of 15-7.
The bill will next go before the full Senate for a vote and is going in with some bipartisan support. This will be critical in getting enough Republicans to join the Democratic majority for passage.
In addition to the 12 Democrats on the committee backing the law, Republican senators Mark Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Orrin Hatch of Utah also supported it.
ENDA has been introduced in all but one Congress since 1994. It would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees.
At an LGBT Pride Month reception at The White House last month, President Barack Obama pointed out that ‘in 34 states, you can be fired just because of who you are and who you love. That’s wrong and we’ve got to change that.’
But Obama has been unwilling to go around congress and sign ENDA into law by Executive Order.
‘Taken with the Supreme Court rulings last month, today’s vote shows that the tide has turned and the movement for full LGBT rights will not go backwards,’ said Tico Almeida, founder and President of Freedom to Work, a national organization committed to ending employment discrimination.
Almeida added: ‘Those who continue to stand in the way of the march towards the freedom to work, like the Republicans who voted against the legislation today, not only find themselves on the wrong side of history.’