News (USA)

Senate committee schedules vote on Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Senate committee schedules vote on Employment Non-Discrimination Act

WASHINGTON — The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has scheduled a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

The bill, which has languished in Congress for more than a decade, would prohibit employment discrimination against LGBT Americans by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees.

The mark-up of the legislation, set to be held on July 10, comes two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court decision on striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, and appears to be an effort to capitalize on recent victories for LGBT rights.

Committee Chair, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) had previously announced his intent to move ENDA out of the committee earlier this year.

While 12 of his Senate colleagues and fellow democrats on the committee are listed as co-sponsors of the measure, along with GOP Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill), the question is whether or not GOP Senator Lisa Murkwski (R-Alaska) will support the effort and vote for the measure.

In the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court decision on DOMA, she became the third GOP lawmaker in the Senate to publicly state her support for same-sex marriage. Murlowski also voted in favor of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd hate crimes legislation.

Should the measure pass the through to the full Senate, it is expected to be met with resistance from the Republican minority and if passed will likely not gain passage in the GOP controlled House.

The measure has been introduced in every Congress since 1994 (except the 109th). Similar legislation has been introduced without passage since 1974.

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