HISTORY: ENDA Advances to Senate Floor with Key Cloture Vote

by Charles Joughin

Senate passage all but assured after watershed bipartisan vote in favor of LGBT workplace equality

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Senate voted 61 to 30 to consider the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with strong bipartisan support including the entire Democratic caucus and Republican Sens. Kirk, Collins, Hatch, Heller, Ayotte, Toomey and Portman. The procedural move sets up a historic vote later this week, where the Senate will likely pass ENDA for first time in the legislation's history.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:

“Today we saw American democracy in action with the U.S. Senate finally following the will of a diverse and bipartisan collection of Americans calling for workplace fairness.  With a super majority of Senators, more than 100 major American companies, and more than two-thirds of Americans all standing proudly in support of ENDA, there is tremendous momentum behind this common-sense bill. ENDA's time has come, and we're not going to stop fighting until it is passed once and for all.

“Majority Leader Reid, Chairman Harkin, lead sponsors Sens. Merkley and Kirk, and Sens. Collins and Baldwin, along with the rest of ENDA’s bipartisan co-sponsors, have brought us closer to this goal than ever before.”

As news broke today that Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada would become the 60th Senate vote in support of ENDA, GOP House Speaker John Boehner suggested that he would not bring the bill to the floor in the House. Griffin said this in response:

“Unfortunately, House leadership appears to be consistently beholden to a tiny minority of anti-LGBT special interests and is already preparing to stand in the way.  Americans are tired of partisanship and are looking for some sign that Washington can still get big things done. The Speaker, of all people, should certainly know what it's like to go to work every day afraid of being fired. Instead of letting the far right trample him again, it's time for Speaker Boehner to stand with the majority of everyday Republican voters and support ENDA.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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