Senate Passes Bill to Outlaw Anti-Gay Job Discrimination

Will head to the House, where there is significant resistance


Senate lawmakers on Thursday passed a bill banning workplace discrimination against LGBT individuals in a historic, albeit nominal, victory four decades in the making.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed its final vote in the full Senate 64-32, just three days after its first since 1996, when a similar measure failed but just one vote. The full Senate would not vote again on a workplace protection bill for gays and lesbians until this past Monday, when lawmakers voted to begin debate. It was 1974 when Congress first saw a bill of this kind.

Signs of the measure becoming law were stunted earlier in the week, however, when Speaker John Boehner voiced his opposition on the grounds that it would cost small business and create "frivolous litigation."

Despite there being little chance of seeing an ENDA vote before the GOP-controlled House, Senate leaders still championed the progress and laid out arguments for Republican opponents to change course.