Protecting gay rights in the workplace

Published: November 7, 2013

The vote to move forward in the Senate with a bill that bars discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans in the workplace is a clear sign of changing values in the nation. Sadly, though, the vote also reflects the entrenched opposition by many to gay rights.

 
Senate supporters of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – ENDA – overcame a threat to stall the bill by a vote of 61-30, one more than was needed to ward off a filibuster. The entire Democratic delegation voted to move ahead on the bill, and seven Republicans helped provide the needed margin.
 
Adding to the drama, the usual 15-minute vote stretched beyond 30 minutes, and the vote required some arm-twisting by Sens. Clair McCaskill, D-Mo., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, two key backers of the measure.
 
The vote practically ensures eventual passage of the bill in the Senate. But it it is likely meet stiff opposition in the GOP-controlled House, where Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, could try to block it from even coming to a vote. A spokesman for the speaker said Boehner believes the bill would invite frivolous lawsuits and cost Americans jobs.
 
The bill also is opposed by conservative lobbying groups, including Heritage Action and the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Officials with both groups say they will include the vote as part of their legislative scorecard.

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