Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, announced today that he intends to hold a floor vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act before Congress breaks for Thanksgiving. He did not announce exactly what day that would be, but some leaders believe the bill could come to the floor as early as next week. ENDA passed the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions with bipartisan support in July.
ENDA would outlaw employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“I thank Majority Leader Reid for committing to bring ENDA to the floor this work period,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon and a chief sponsor of the bill. “Americans understand that it’s time to make sure our LGBT friends and family are treated fairly and have the same opportunities. Now it’s time for our laws to catch up. People should be judged at work on their ability to do the job, period.”
The bill has been introduced in almost every Congress since 1994.
“NCTE is grateful for Sen. Reid and Sen. Merkley for their leadership on moving ENDA forward,” said National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Driector Mara Keisling in a statement. “Their commitment to do this and to do it right is so important to transgender people. Right now we have the best chance ever to pass ENDA through one of the chambers, which is going to be an important step for us to getting ENDA passed when it’s finally able to move in the House. Because of all the work people have done over the years at the grassroots level and on Capitol Hill, we’re optimistic that the Senate vote will go our way. The forthcoming Senate vote will change the playing field once we have a friendlier House that can tackle ENDA.”
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force issued a statement commending Reid and Merkley for their “steadfast opposition of discrimination and support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.”
“The vast majority of Americans believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people should not have to live in fear of being fired or discriminated against at work because of who they are or who they love. The upcoming ENDA vote is an historic opportunity for all senators to listen to the American people and be on the right side of history,” NGLTF executive director Rea Carey wrote.