Senate Panel Advances ENDA in 15-7 Bipartisan Vote


The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee has voted 15-7 to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Republican Senators Mark Kirk (IL), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Orrin Hatch (UT) joined all Democrats on the committee in moving the bill to the Senate floor.

Today's committee vote is the first since 2002. It was also "the first-time ever a committee in either chamber of Congress approved a version of ENDA that protects not only gay, lesbian and bisexual people from workplace discrimination, but also transgender people."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he'll take up the measure later this year.

UPDATE: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney released the following statement…

The President welcomes the bipartisan approval of S. 815, The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of 2013, by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today.  He thanks Committee Chairman Harkin, Senator Merkley, and Senator Kirk for their leadership on this important issue.  The President has long supported an inclusive ENDA, which would enshrine into law strong, lasting and comprehensive protections against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  We look forward to the full Senate’s consideration of ENDA, and continue to urge the House to move forward on this bill that upholds America’s core values of fairness and equality. 


  1. nick says

    Captian Obvious here! But, ENDA is tremendously important. The freedom to marry is, of course, a wonderful thing but if it comes at the price of one’s livelihood that freedom is cast in doubt. We must remove that cloud and the pall it casts or people will not be free to be free.

  2. DB says

    Wonderful news. We really need to have Congress remove the ‘gender identity’ part of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act so that the original bill would pass easily. The original bill bans discrimination on the basis of ‘sexual orientation’. The original ENDA would easily pass, while adding on the irrelevant and controversial characteristic of gender identity will mean that ENDA will not pass this year. Please e-mail your congressmen and tell them to remove gender identity and pass ENDA so that we can end legal employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

  3. Sam says

    So you’re willing to push our Congress to continue the unjust discrimination of transgender people? It’s time we stopped leaving people behind.

  4. CFroggy says

    Sorry to disagree DB but gender identity MUST stay in the bill. I myself am not transgendered, and I don’t think I even know anyone on a personal level who is, but we should NEVER sacrifice any of our brothers and sisters just to be politically expedient.

  5. jamal49 says

    I’m impressed with the Democrats. I didn’t think they had the courage to do this. Of course, this will go nowhere in the evangelical-controlled, I mean, the, uh, Republican-controlled House but at least it’s out there, on the table.

    Vote out the Republicans in 2014!!

  6. Sam says

    Thank you CFroggy! You are too right! Just for future reference, “transgender” is preferred over “transgendered.”

  7. MateoM says

    DB, why do you hate Trans people? You’re willing to deny them equal protections under the law. That’s serious prejudice.

  8. reader says

    Democrats deserve huge credit for moving the bill, but we should also applaud even more loudly for the 4 Republicans who voted for it. This bill will pass ONLY with GOP support, so any movement toward it on their part should be encouraged.

  9. Lee says

    Fact is people if it comes down to it not passing at all or only passing with the trans part removed we have to look for the greater good here we can always go back and pass a trans bill later. Fact is its better to help some people now and then Help others later, than to be stubborn and end up helping no one.

  10. says

    @DB: Why is discrimination on the basis of gender identity irrelevant? If discrimination based on sexual orientation was more controversial (and it still is with many Republicans) would you favor scrapping that too? Or is it really about scrapping anything that doesn’t fit with your own narrow-mindedness? If so, why not just say you don’t think trans people deserve protection from workplace discrimination. Be honest.