In a 15 to 7 vote, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions passed the most recent incarnation of the Federal Employment Non Discrimination Act which would provide protections for LGBT employees across all work environments – private, state, and federal.
Virginia, along with 28 other states, currently lack protections for LGBT employees at any level, and ENDA, now in its 9th iteration, hopes to change that.
ENDA has faced many challenges throughout the years; it did not include gender identity into its list of protected classes until 2007, and even then the House version of the bill still omitted GI. But today’s committee vote went across party lines, with 3 Republicans, Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and, Orrin Hatch (Utah) all giving the bill their support.
“This decisive bipartisan vote sends a clear message that there is nothing more basic, more fundamental or more American than guaranteeing that hiring decisions are based on a worker’s ability to do the job rather than who they are or who they love,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Chad Griffin. “Today’s vote is a victory for all Americans, and we are deeply grateful to Chairman Harkin and Senators Merkley and Kirk for their leadership, as well as all the Democrats and Republicans on the HELP Committee who stood by this vital legislation and sent it to the Senate floor.”
The future of ENDA is still murky. The bill will need to pass through the majority republican congress in order to be signed into law, and commentators like MSNBC’s Steve Benen are still shaking on the bill’s future success. “ENDA is going to need several GOP votes to side with the Democratic majority. With this in mind, this morning’s vote was heartening,” said Benen in a blog post on Maddow Blog post. “The House, with a radicalized GOP majority, will certainly be a heavier lift, but nearly two decades after ENDA was initially introduced, the legislation ‘s odds are improving.”
The “godly folk” are going absolutely berserk in response to Barack Obama’s signing of a presidential executive order barring that bans federal government contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The volumes of spittle flying from the flapping jaws of the professional Christian class and hate group leaders is off the charts. [...]