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Updated: ENDA advances to Senate floor in HELP committee vote


By Jacob Combs

Update (11:15 a.m. Eastern): The HELP committee has voted 15-7 to advance ENDA to the Senate floor.  Republican Sens. Kirk, Hatch and Murkowski all voted in favor of the bill.

Original story (11:00 a.m. Eastern): The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee is scheduled to vote today on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would make it illegal to base hiring or firing decisions on an individuals’ sexual orientation or gender identity.  Even though all 12 Democrats on the committee are expected to vote to advance the measure to the full Senate, LGBT advocates aren’t sitting back on their heels, as the Huffington Post reports:

With a Senate committee set to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on Wednesday, supporters are focusing these final hours on convincing a few additional Republicans to join Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and the 12 committee Democrats, giving the measure a strong bipartisan backing.

Tico Almeida, founder of Freedom to Work, an organization dedicated to banning workplace harassment and discrimination against LGBT individuals, identified several possible Republican supporters on Monday. Almeida named Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) as potential backers, along with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

Yesterday, Hatch told the Huffington Post, “My tendency is to vote for the bill.”  Alexander said he has no plans to vote for it, while Murkowski was noncommittal.  Burr is not expected to vote in favor of ENDA, and one LGBT advocate involved in the effort to bring on additional senators said the North Carolina legislator may skip the committee meeting today in order to avoid taking a stand either for or against ENDA.

As the Huffington Post notes, the Human Rights Campaign has also been heavily involved in the legislative effort, delivering over 12,000 constituents postcards, emails and phone calls to Burr, Hatch and Murkowski.

Today, in a news release, American Airlines, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, reiterated its support for ENDA:

On behalf of our 80,000 employees, American Airlines is proud to express our strong support for S. 811 and H.R. 1397, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would extend basic job protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. We are proud to have been the first major airline to implement same-sex domestic partner benefits, first to implement both sexual orientation and gender identity in our workplace non-discrimination policies, and first to have a recognized LGBT employee resource group – GLEAM.

American became the first airline to back the bill when it sponsored similar drafts in 2008 and 2009.

We’ll report the results of the ENDA vote today here at EqualityOnTrial as they occur.

1 Comment

  • 1. Pressure builds in advanc&hellip  |  November 4, 2013 at 9:58 am

    […] additional Republicans, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, supported ENDA in a committee vote this summer; if they vote for the bill on the Senate floor, it will be […]

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