The Senate on Nov. 7 voted 64 to 32 to approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would make it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
A version of the bill—S. 815—was first introduced 17 years ago, but it never made it to the Senate floor for a full vote.
ENDA won 10 Republican votes (all Democrats present voted “yea”) after Senateagreed to an amendment prohibiting state and local governments from pursuing lawsuits against religious institutions that invoke a religious exemption included in the law.
After the Senate voted, House Speaker John Boehner said he had no plans to bring up ENDA for a vote in the House of Representatives. That means there is little chance the bill will become law.
“We firmly believe that if the House of Representatives were freed by Speaker John Boehner to vote its conscience, this bill could pass immediately,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group that supports ENDA.