After over a decade, the Senate is scheduled to see its first vote on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, to take place in the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee on July 10.
With the momentum of the Supreme Court pro-marriage equality decisions in play, the vote was announced today. At the Washington Blade Chris Johnson writes that the Committee
… has scheduled the markup for the LGBT job anti-bias legislation two weeks to the day that the Supreme Court ruled against the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. …
All 12 Senate Democrats on the panel are co-sponsors of the legislation — in addition to Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) — so ENDA should have no trouble obtaining approval from the committee.
At Maddow Blog, Steve Benen notes:
Only three Senate Democrats – Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) – have not signed on, while two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Mark Kirk (Ill.), are cosponsors.
Johnson adds this:
One question is the way Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaksa), a HELP committee member, will vote on the legislation. A week before the Supreme Court decision, she became the third sitting U.S. Republican senator to come out in support of marriage equality. She also voted in favor of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal and hate crimes protection legislation.
Benen’s thoughts regarding Murkowski:
I’m hard pressed to imagine how anyone can argue, ‘I support the rights of gay Americans to get married, but if they get fired from their jobs solely because of their sexual orientation, that’s fine.’
At Buzzfeed, Chris Geidner writes about the upcoming vote:
The markup session, chaired by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, would include discussion of possible amendments to the bill to ban LGBT discrimination in the workplace, followed by a final committee vote to send the legislation to the floor. …
The last time the bill was marked up was in the spring of 2002, under the committee leadership of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. …
The markup also is scheduled less than a month after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he had hopes for moving the bill on the floor.
A decade here, a decade there.
There is speculation that the Republicans might filibuster ENDA. And, of course, the House is a totally different question. But after over a decade, actual movement on ENDA is very welcomed. You have to keep pushing, keep educating, keep demanding full equality.
(ENDA Sign Via GetEqual)