Senate Approves ENDA On Initial Vote

This is welcome news. For the first time in U.S. history, the senate has approved a bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. With a final vote of 64 to 32, the bill now moves on to the House of Representatives.

All 55 Democratic senators voted yes on the bill, along with nine Republicans that included John McCain and Jeff Flake. Senators also voted down an amendment championed by Republican Senator Pat Toomy, which would have expanded the number of organizations and individuals that could discriminate against LGBT people under the banner of religious beliefs. He cited religious organizations that host secular activities, such as a gym run by the Mormon Church, a Presbyterian-run retirement home, or a Jewish community center.

However, others pointed out the bill already contains a measure exempting faith-based organizations and clergy from ENDA's discrimination protections. "This amendment threatens to gut the central premise of ENDA," said Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who opposed the amendment. "The amendment is ill-defined, and opens floodgates to all kinds of court cases."

The Advocate has the complete breakdown of the votes HERE.