On November 7, 2013, the Senate voted 64 to 32 to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a historic vote two-decades in the making. Ten Republicans joined all voting Democrats in supporting passage of the bill that provides protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
In the debate and process votes leading up to the final passage vote, Senators supporting the bill spoke of making history. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) spoke in favor of the bill, making his first speech on the Senate floor since suffering a stroke last year.
In a statement issued by the White House Office of the Press Secretary, the President also praised the passage of the anti-discrimination measure:
Today, a bipartisan majority in the Senate took another important step in this journey by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would help end the injustice of our fellow Americans being denied a job or fired just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Just as no one in the United States can lose their job simply because of their race, gender, religion or a disability, no one should ever lose their job simply because of who they are or who they love.
Prior to the Senate vote, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) indicated that he would not be bringing ENDA to the House floor for an up-or-down vote. Despite criticism from some of the Speaker’s own party, Rep. Boehner has not indicated a change in position. Further progress for ENDA in the House in the first session of the 113th Congress is unlikely.
Vote Number 232. U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 1st Session, November 7, 2013, http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=113&session=1&vote=00232.
Jeremy Peters, Bill Advances to Outlaw Discrimination Against Gays, New York Times, November 4, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/05/us/politics/bill-on-workplace-bias-appears-set-to-clear-senate-hurdle.html?_r=0.
Statement by the President on Senate Passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013, Office of the Press Secretary, the White House, November 7, 2013, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/07/statement-president-senate-passage-employment-non-discrimination-act-201.
Greg Sargent, House Republicans set to kill ENDA? Washington Post, November 4, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/11/04/house-republicans-set-to-kill-enda/.