Senate Advances LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act faces a much more significant challenge in the House, and LGBT activists are already looking toward next steps to advance their cause

  • Share
  • Read Later
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Seventeen years after failing by one vote to win passage in the Senate, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed in the upper chamber Monday with 61 in favor, one vote over the minimum threshold to move the bill to a full floor vote. ENDA now moves to a floor vote in the Senate, where it is expected to pass. In the House, where the climate is much less favorable toward the bill, advocates are exploring all options to advance a federal ban on workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. If ENDA fails there, supporters might even push for an Executive Order to advance the cause.

By Monday morning, ENDA had the support of the entire Democratic caucus, plus four Senate Republicans (Lisa Murkowski, Mark Kirk, Susan Collins and Orrin Hatch). Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller’s announcement that he would support ENDA pushed the bill to the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles in the Senate. In the final tally, Ohio Senator Rob Portman became the sixth Republican to support the measure, pushing the total yeas to 61.

“We’re not going to take anything for granted, but things are looking good in the Senate this week,” said Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president of the Center for American Progress. “If the Employment Non-Discrimination Act were to come up in the House, there’s a path to passage,” she said.

(MORE: Obama Pleads for Congress to Pass Law on LGBT Workplace Rights)

Emphasis on “path” over “passage.”

As long as John Boehner holds the Speaker’s gavel, ENDA faces a much harder road in the House. After Heller’s announcement of support Monday, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel reiterated the Speaker’s long-standing opposition to ENDA.

“The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small-business jobs,” he told TIME.

ENDA advocates fired back. At a time when “this week alone we may see two additional states, Illinois and Hawaii, join the marriage column, it seems so relatively Fred Flintstone for John Boehner to be saying that gays are not deserving of workplace protections,” Fred Sainz, vice president at Human Rights Campaign, told TIME.

Nonetheless, in Boehner’s House, it’s unlikely ENDA will even reach the floor. The Speaker has shown himself fond of the so-called Hastert Rule, under which legislation is not allowed to come up for a vote in the full House unless such a vote has the support of “a majority of the majority.” With only five House Republicans openly in support of ENDA, it’s difficult to see how it even makes it to the floor.

Facing that reality, Sainz said, advocates are weighing other options.

“While the Speaker is definitely all powerful in terms of bringing things to the floor, there’s also a defense authorization bill where this could also go over to the House,” he said.

If ENDA fails in the House, the President, who took to the Huffington Post on Sunday to urge passage of the bill, could sign an Executive Order banning LGBT discrimination among federal contractors. Such a move could lend momentum that might push it over the threshold in another attempt down the road.

PHOTOS: LGBT Pride Celebrations Around the World









Odd how the 'Defenders of the Constitution' don't want to defend it when it doesn't affect them.


“The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small-business jobs,” he told TIME.  - So you know he was either going to say we object because it is a "job killer" or "it's been this way for 2000 years!"


boehner knows best and down with enda is what will happen. the lgbt community are always crybabying about being discriminated against or being picked on by nice moral straight people. get back in the closets and no one will know that you are different


When did John Boehner became KING?  HE has the power to decide what comes up for a vote?? This is unbelievable.  Is this what the founding fathers wanted? How can we depose him?


I'm still trying to figure out how workplace protections are killing jobs.  Seems what the GOP/TP is saying is that the country could be at full employment as long as there are no protections for the employees - what a deal!

Also ironic is how the GOP/TP want to call those who aren't working lazy, but are okay with employers putting people out of work and onto the government dole because they don't like something about them.


"I see your true colors shining through" Republicans are worthless, so their rationale is that if you hire someone from the LGBT community and you fire them they could sue. Yes if you fire someone because of discrimination they can sue. Way to put 2 and 2 together. And they have to throw out the "Americans will lose jobs" line of BS. What a bunch of jokers, are we not talking about Americans when we talk about the LGBT community. Where do you Repubs think these people are from, China?


Sometimes discrimination is a good thing.  I appreciate the car wash guy who discerns where the automated washer missed a spot of dirt and cleans it by hand.  Then again when my teen discriminated against the smoking crowd and never picked up the habit, that decision represented successful milestone.  However, even if she did, I'd love her and not her habit.  Similarly, there are several reasons to discriminate against homosexuality.  

Behaviorally, homosexuality creates social turmoil beginning with public bathrooms, showers, dorm rooms and military barracks.  Previously separated by gender to preserve personal privacy and eliminate sexual attraction, they now become place of embarrassment and chaos when it's not just opposites that attract.  Consider this article: “Transgender boy invades girls' bathroom” at

Moreover, consider the objections of couple subject to a “pat down” by a gay policeman, who violates their sexual privacy under the guise of the “law of non-discrimination”.  Sexual privacy needs are afforded when an individual has adequate physical and visual separation from anyone attracted to their sex.  By definition, homosexuals deny society of its sexual privacy, although they have no concept of their offense.

Militarily, effeminate and butch homosexuals emasculate our military, embolden our enemies, generate turmoil in the ranks, cost us the respect of other nations, discourage good prospective Americans from entering military service, fail to emulate the courageous GI’s and Marines that served in earlier generations, and they weaken the USA.

As it affects health, homosexuals experience greater depression resulting from rejection by a majority of the population who oppose homosexually, amplified when impressionable children are exposed to a lifestyle their parents abhor, and who recognize how it terminates their family legacies.  Subsequently, parents of the bride expect to pay for the wedding of a straight couple with the thought of grandchildren in the years to come. In a disenchanted and unholy union, why are homosexuals surprised of their parents' lack of support?  Sadly, our moral decay lead by this minority is accompanied by severe consequences as described in the CDC’s document " TODAY’S HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIC’ HIV rates"   Some insurance companies add premium surcharges for unhealthy lifestyles which involve over-eating or smoking.  It seems a travesty for government officials to endorse a life shortening lifestyle such as homosexuality.

On a biological level, homosexuality is dysfunctional; ignoring that life is sexually transmitted and universally contrary to the sexual orientation of straight parents.  It introduces human waste into the reproduction system which is reprehensible, it raises the risk of acquiring AIDS/HIV, increases health care costs and shortens life spans.  It's like pounding in nails with a wrench, destroying the wrench and bending the nails.   On a more elementary level, the plumbing and electrical professions identify different male and female fittings, knowing how they are designed to work, and that connecting two of the same yields disastrous results.  Consequently, homosexuals ignore that “form follows function”, at their own peril.

Theologically, homosexuality is contrary to the Bible resulting in the gay community embracing  atheism as it conflicts with their hedonistic lifestyle.  Scriptural condemnation begins in Genesis with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and continues through Revelation.  However, consider His grace reflected in I Corinthians 6::9 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals,10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”  Rejecting His grace, we just become another Godless nation.

More compelling verses:
Leviticus 18:22
“Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin.”

And for raising children: Luke 17:2
“It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.”

For those who believe in God, what could be more compelling?


Anyone remember the Equal Rights Act of 1972?? Passed the Senate; passed the House but fell three states shy of ever being ratified. Absolutely, no one should be subjected to discrimination; that said (and maybe I missed some nuance, so please weigh in) why is it that half of the U.S. population STILL doesn't have a codified, nationwide mandate specifically barring discrimination based on their sex? Couldn't these two efforts somehow be linked?


It is unbelievable to realise that laws who should had passed at least fifty years ago from the Senate are still in debate whether they should be voted or not.



Wow, this sucks. People, no matter who or what they are, should be able to get and keep a job. The government should give protection to the LGBT rights in any given circumstance. It feels like we fell back a few paces, and that irks me.


No one seems to be picking up on the point that this isn't just about hiring decisions, it's also about FIRING decisions. Yes, it's much harder to prove that someone wasn't hired for whatever prejudice the interviewer brought to the table with them. But plenty of people are provably discriminated against in jobs they already hold or are dismissed from purely because of race/age/sex/orientation.

Race/age/sex already have protections. Would it kill anybody to make sure sexual orientation is protected too? (Answer, no. And if you think otherwise, seek  help.)


What a shame that the religious right wacos have silenced the libertarian republicans?


Addendum - Isn't it interesting how any and all legislation is controlled by just one man in the House?  One man determines what affects over 330 million people.

The Hastert rule needs a repeal.


Pardon me if I sound un-politically correct here but I really think we have much more important issues to address.  Things like the Federal budget and the national debt.  Remember those?  Why it was just a month ago that those two issues shut down the government and almost brought us to default.  So, crisis averted now on to something

I oppose discrimination in any form.  But, really, do any one of us go to work and loudly proclaim our sexual identity?  Is it really an issue?

Basically, since the can has been kicked no news source is telling us anything about the budget conference and how it is doing.  Thus far there has only been one bi-partisan meeting on this highly divisive issue.  One!

Can anyone see the handwriting on the wall here?


With the idea that people should be treated equally before the law, here's what I see:

Another toothless, pointless piece of legislation that simply reiterates the differences between the left and right that will have absolutely NO impact on the lives of those who it's intended to improve even in the vanishingly minuscule chance that it may become law.

I'm in my mid fifties.  I've looked for outside jobs for SEVEN YEARS.  I never apply to jobs for which I'm overqualified (or under-qualified).  I have a record of long-term reliability and excellent proficiency in my past employment. There is a LAW that says age discrimination is illegal.  I'm told I interview well.  

I have NEVER been hired by any of the sixty or seventy companies I've applied to.  Until I removed all references to dates in my resume, I wasn't even called for an interview.  Each and every one of the people who were hired were 20+ years YOUNGER than me, with less experience and less education.  Can I win an age discrimination lawsuit?  HELL NO!

Businesses will hire whoever the hell they want regardless of qualifications. Anti-discrimination laws are a f**king joke that work for about 0.000000000000001% of the people who they are intended to protect.  A hell of a lot of effort for no damn good return.

Screw this legislation.  Until the burden of proof is placed on the business to prove innocence, or there is REAL TEETH in these laws making it easier to prove guilt, there is no chance that it's going to help more than two or three people in the entire country.  And the accused proving innocence isn't how we do things, so nothing will change there.

Great idea.  Moronic implementation.  Even more idiotic attempt at it in TODAY'S climate.  Wait until the house reflects the will of the majority FIRST before proposing purely symbolic BS that won't help anyone but a few for the life of the law.


Somewhere a lot of lawyers are cracking their knuckles with a grin.. it's payday time!


 Boehner's aide reported that "existing law" already prohibits employers from firing LGBT workers. 

Only in 21 states.   This is a losing issue for the GOP.   It's not a good thing.   How many losing issues can they keep juggling before they decide to enter this century? 


Is this legislation useful? No employer will reject a gay person because the prospective employee is gay. They will say "We found a better qualified candidate"  Same for promotion, same for race, same for gender, same for age. This type of legislation is a gesture to gain favor among groups. It does not solve the issue. It makes employers more careful and reduces partially discrimination by hiring of token people of targeted groups and show them as a showcase of lack of discrimination.


@dajadags Oh yes, you sound very "nice" and "moral". What dictionary are you getting your definitions out of?


@ThorgoodSmith Wait, which god, Thor? I believe in Odin, so how does this relate to ME?



Here's a list of the other 75 things banned by Leviticus. I hope you don't like bacon or seafood. Or shaving. The good news is you can have slaves!

1.       Burning any yeast or honey in offerings to God (2:11)

2.       Failing to include salt in offerings to God (2:13)

3.       Eating fat (3:17)

4.       Eating blood (3:17)

5.       Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve witnessed (5:1)

6.       Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve been told about (5:1)

7.       Touching an unclean animal (5:2)

8.       Carelessly making an oath (5:4)

9.       Deceiving a neighbour about something trusted to them (6:2)

10.   Finding lost property and lying about it (6:3)

11.   Bringing unauthorised fire before God (10:1)

12.   Letting your hair become unkempt (10:6)

13.   Tearing your clothes (10:6)

14.   Drinking alcohol in holy places (bit of a problem for Catholics, this ‘un) (10:9)

15.   Eating an animal which doesn’t both chew cud and has a divided hoof (cf: camel, rabbit, pig) (11:4-7)

16.   Touching the carcass of any of the above (problems here for rugby) (11:8)

17.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – any seafood without fins or scales (11:10-12)

18.   Eating – or touching the carcass of - eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite, any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat. (11:13-19)

19.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – flying insects with four legs, unless those legs are jointed (11:20-22)

20.   Eating any animal which walks on all four and has paws (good news for cats) (11:27)

21.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard,the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon (11:29)

22.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – any creature which crawls on many legs, or its belly (11:41-42)

23.   Going to church within 33 days after giving birth to a boy (12:4)

24.   Going to church within 66 days after giving birth to a girl (12:5)

25.   Having sex with your mother (18:7)

26.   Having sex with your father’s wife (18:8)

27.   Having sex with your sister (18:9)

28.   Having sex with your granddaughter (18:10)

29.   Having sex with your half-sister (18:11)

30.   Having sex with your biological aunt (18:12-13)

31.   Having sex with your uncle’s wife (18:14)

32.   Having sex with your daughter-in-law (18:15)

33.   Having sex with your sister-in-law (18:16)

34.   Having sex with a woman and also having sex with her daughter or granddaughter (bad news for Alan Clark) (18:17)

35.   Marrying your wife’s sister while your wife still lives (18:18)

36.   Having sex with a woman during her period (18:19)

37.   Having sex with your neighbour’s wife (18:20)

38.   Giving your children to be sacrificed to Molek (18:21)

39.   Having sex with a man “as one does with a woman” (18:22)

40.   Having sex with an animal (18:23)

41.   Making idols or “metal gods” (19:4)

42.   Reaping to the very edges of a field (19:9)

43.   Picking up grapes that have fallen in your  vineyard (19:10)

44.   Stealing (19:11)

45.   Lying (19:11)

46.   Swearing falsely on God’s name (19:12)

47.   Defrauding your neighbour (19:13)

48.   Holding back the wages of an employee overnight (not well observed these days) (19:13)

49.   Cursing the deaf or abusing the blind (19:14)

50.   Perverting justice, showing partiality to either the poor or the rich (19:15)

51.   Spreading slander (19:16)

52.   Doing anything to endanger a neighbour’s life (19:16)

53.   Seeking revenge or bearing a grudge (19:18)

54.   Mixing fabrics in clothing (19:19)

55.   Cross-breeding animals (19:19)

56.   Planting different seeds in the same field (19:19)

57.   Sleeping with another man’s slave (19:20)

58.   Eating fruit from a tree within four years of planting it (19:23)

59.   Practising divination or seeking omens (tut, tut astrology) (19:26)

60.   Trimming your beard (19:27)

61.   Cutting your hair at the sides (19:27)

62.   Getting tattoos (19:28)

63.   Making your daughter prostitute herself (19:29)

64.   Turning to mediums or spiritualists (19:31)

65.   Not standing in the presence of the elderly (19:32)

66.   Mistreating foreigners – “the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born”  (19:33-34)

67.   Using dishonest weights and scales (19:35-36)

68.   Cursing your father or mother (punishable by death) (20:9)

69.   Marrying a prostitute, divorcee or widow if you are a priest (21:7,13)

70.   Entering a place where there’s a dead body as a priest (21:11)

71.   Slaughtering a cow/sheep and its young on the same day (22:28)

72.   Working on the Sabbath (23:3)

73.   Blasphemy (punishable by stoning to death) (24:14)

74.   Inflicting an injury; killing someone else’s animal; killing a person must be punished in kind (24:17-22)

75.   Selling land permanently (25:23)

76.   Selling an Israelite as a slave (foreigners are fine) (25:42)


@ThorgoodSmith Dude, you need to update your research. To something at least in the last 20th century. Something in THIS century would be even better.


@debussy0 "Sex" is a protected category, as in you can't be discriminated against based on whether your parts dimple or dangle, but sexual orientation, as in who you are sexually attracted to, is still fair game.


@AlphaJuliette I'm sure in GOP/TP world, allowing this kind of discrimination to continue will help to decrease the nation's deficit and debt.  :-)


@AlphaJuliette As opposed to all the other problems that they are solving?  Lets all be glad that they are at least doing something constructive.

In fact, i'm glad.  It's hard to go from anti-discrimination legislation to shutting the entire government down.  But then again, the house hasn't taken up the bill yet....




"I don't want a divorce...BUT" (translation: You'll be hearing from my lawyer)

"I'd like to go out with you again ...BUT (translation: I'd rather date a serial killer )

"I like your cooking...BUT (translation: I'm going to have my stomach pumped )

"We have no interest is seeing a government shutdown....BUT...." (we are going to shut this government down)


 "I oppose discrimination in any form.  But..." (translation:  I really could care less about long as it isn't me)


@AlphaJuliette Despite its incompetence, Congress has shown its ability to walk and chew gum at the same time. I doubt that this "distraction" will take any time away from addressing other issues. 


@DeweySayenoff j

Any type of discrimination: age, sex, gender, hard to prove.  But without the law people can just advertise jobs like they do in Asia : 

"Looking for an experienced accountant.  Must be female, attractive , unmarried , no children and under 30 years old."

Believe it or not, it's legal in many countries to post such an ad.  I've seen them

Here in the US people wouldn't dare to even  post such an ad.  So everyone gets a crack at the job.  The interviewer can certainly use his personal criteria for offering the job and the burden of proof is on the interviewer....but if a company shows a pattern of hiring that favors single, attractive , young  women...your lawyer could bring a case against the company....especially if it can be shown that the company's hiring results favored the young and attractive females and passed over more qualified older women or men

The point is....US companies have to be very careful that they are hiring for the right reasons or they could end up in court.  An any company that tries to do otherwise is open to a lawsuit.  That's why executives caution their HR departments to make sure they are following anti job discrimination guidelines.

That's the point of the law.


@DeweySayenoff Spot on Mr. Dewey.  I'm in the same boat.

I've been unemployed since last March.  I too have a great record and a good work ethic.  Those companies for whom I have worked liked and appreciated the job I did.  But, age is certainly coming to bear here in my search for another job. 

How do they find out how old I am?  Easy.  They ask if I'm a veteran. I am.  And, if so, which era.  Vietnam.  "Oh! Next!"

In all my years in the workforce I have never been asked "so, which way do you swing?"  Never!  As if that made any difference.  For gays and lesbians their own performance and work ethic and overall fit matter and not much else.


@jmac It's also pretty sad to see the GOP displaying this kind of blatant stupidity and ignorance about existing laws.


@jmac How many issues can they keep juggling?  Answer; all of them.

The party of NO is becoming the party of Take-It-Away.


@teen_femdom Not on most individual case, but it does make class action law suites possible, which isn't a bad thing. 

 But there will also be stupid people that blatantly break the law and will get caught.   While statistically insignificant it still serves to raise awareness, which helps a lot. Especially for large corporations, who will try to avoid such law suites because of the bad publicity they tend to generate.


@teen_femdom "No employer will reject a gay person because the prospective employee is gay."

Wow, you should get out more. What an incredibly naive statement. That happens more often than you think. 


@LeahPetersen @debussy0 The act was never ratified; then how, exactly, is it Constitutionally "protected?"

    Again, why aren't these efforts linked? It would make sense that gays and lesbians would also have a vested interest in making sure that discrimination also doesn't occur based solely on "body parts," given that not all LGBT issues are transgender or identification issues.



Here's one for you Mr. Milo -  whenever you assume something you make an @ss out of U & ME.  In this case it's all you.

If you knew anything about me personally or my particular walk in life or how I actually regard and, more importantly, interacted with people no matter their ethnicity, well, you would have to eat your own words my friend.


@AlphaJuliette @DeweySayenoff 

"Gays don't need protections because I'm being discriminated against more."

Is that a pretty good summary of where you two are going with all this?


@tom.litton   I agree Mr. Tom.  Same sex couples should enjoy not only the benefits of their dedicated relationship with each other in legal terms but in social ones as well.

As for the workplace I have the same opinion concerning same sex people as I do minorities;  What matters is your performance, your work ethic and your fit into the workplace community.


@AlphaJuliette You don't have to ask.  You just have to look it up on facebook (or twitter).

It would suck to have to hide your identity from most, if not all, public forums for fear of getting fired, or passed over for promotion, etc.  

It would also suck to tell your spouse that they can't take part in any work related events (not even a happy hour) like all the other spouses. 


@cleverly @MiloBendech   True.  That's all you had to go on....and this;

"I oppose discrimination in any form.  But, really, do any one of us go to work and loudly proclaim our sexual identity?  Is it really an issue?"

Mr. Milo takes great liberty after the "but" in my post.  I was not saying "I opposed discrimination in any form.  But, I understand how people can discriminate."  I made a point that very very few of us make it a point to announce our sexual orientation in the work place therefore making sexual discrimination likely. 

I've commented more on sexual discrimination in a post below this one.  Take a look there to see how I feel about discrimination.  This is what I said; 

"In all my years in the workforce I have never been asked "so, which way do you swing?"  Never!  As if that made any difference.  For gays and lesbians their own performance and work ethic and overall fit matter and not much else."


@Mement @DeweySayenoff      No, that's not a good summary of where we are going with all of this. 

" For gays and lesbians their own performance and work ethic and overall fit matter and not much else."

Same goes for age in most circumstances.

Reading is fundamental.