The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee has scheduled the markup for ENDA (The Employment Non-Discrimination Act) two weeks to the day that the Supreme Court ruled against the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.
This will be first planned committee vote on the embattled bill in the Senate in more than a decade. The last time ENDA came up before committee was in the spring of 2002, under the committee leadership of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
All 12 Democrats on the committee are co-sponsors of the legislation, as is one of the 10 Republicans.
Said Heather Cronk co-director of GetEqual:
“We’re thrilled that Senator Harkin has scheduled a committee vote on ENDA for July 10, and we look forward to Majority Leader Reid keeping his promise to move swiftly on scheduling a full Senate vote on ENDA. We believe there’s no reason to keep LGBT Americans at risk of being fired simply because of who they are or who they love, so we will keep pressure on Senator Reid to call a vote soon.” (also, here’s the link to reid saying a vote would come “soon”:
“I look forward to taking up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act soon, to prohibit such job discrimination across the nation,”
ENDA has been introduced in every Congress since 1994.
Similar legislation has been introduced without passage since 1974 when Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY) introduced H.R. 14752, the “Equality Act”, which would have added sexual orientation to the protected classes specified in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibited discrimination in employment and access to public accommodations and facilities.
In the early 1990s, gay rights organizations decided to focus only on employment.
Rep. Gerry Studds introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on June 23, 1994