LGBT Advocates Call for Prompt Attention to ENDA as Congress Resumes
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the bill that would protect federally protect LGBT workers from job discrimination, awaits attention from Congress since it passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee in a bipartisan 15-7 vote in early June.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised in a Pride statement this year that he would bring the measure to a vote "soon" but gave no indication of a time frame. HELP committee chair Tom Harkin has also indicated that a vote could take place in the fall.
and advocates believe its chances are good, the Washington Blade's Chris Johnson reports:
Christian Berle, legislative director for Freedom to Work, said the time has come for a Senate floor vote on ENDA because the organization believes that sufficient lobbying will be needed to reach the 60-vote threshold required to overcome a filibuster.
“Based on Freedom to Work’s outreach to Senate Republicans since ENDA passed out of the HELP Committee, we are confident that we have the 60 votes necessary to advance and pass this critical legislation,” Berle said. “It is now time for Senator Reid to keep his six-and-a-half year old commitment to bring ENDA to the floor of the Senate as soon as possible.”
Moreover, Berle said holding the Senate vote on ENDA as soon as possible is necessary to generate momentum to move the legislation in the Republican-controlled House, where passage of ENDA will be challenging to say the least. Two options that have been floated are attaching ENDA to a larger vehicle bill or a discharge petition.
“The sooner we pass ENDA out of the Senate, the sooner we can begin a robust campaign to get ENDA through the House of Representatives and on the president’s desk,” Berle said.
Read the full piece at the Blade.
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In related news, how we get to that place will be the topic of the first ever ENDA Situation Room, which Towleroad is webcasting TOMORROW at 2 PM ET from New York Law School, hosted by Freedom to Work, the leading advocacy organization for the passage of the ENDA.
The event, a bipartisan discussion about the paths to successful passage to ENDA will be moderated in the first half by Towleroad legal editor and New York Law School Professor Ari Ezra Waldman, and in the second by veteran LGBT activist and journalist Ann Northrop (right).
Towleroad readers can tweet questions they would like answered at the forum to @freedomtowork.
Speakers at the event will include Tico Almeida, President of Freedom to Work; Evan Wolfson, President of Freedom to Marry; Brad Sears, Executive Director of the Williams Institute at UCLA Law; Gregory T. Angelo, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans; and Melissa Sklarz, Executive Director of Stonewall Democrats.
Join us here LIVE TOMORROW for the webcast, from 2 to 4 pm ET.