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ENDA may already have all the Senate votes it needs

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act seemingly has 60 senators supporting it---enough to get the bill approved in the Senate and to block any potential filibuster, according to The Rainbow Times. The Huffington Post and The Washington Post are among the many outlets covering the news, as well.

More commonly known as ENDA, the bill would prohibit employment discrimination again LGBT people. With attention to gender identity as well as sexual orientation, passing ENDA would be groundbreaking in its inclusive protections of people in their workplaces, particularly for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. According to The Williams Institute, there are more than 8 million employees in the country who identify as LGBT. Currently, you can be fired in 29 states for being LGB and in 34 states for being trans; yet a frequent misguided argument against ENDA is the claim that LGBT discrimination in the workplace is a myth.

Majority leader Harry Reid announced this week that ENDA will reach the Senate floor before Thanksgiving. At present, the vote is scheduled for Monday evening, November 4. Since that announcement, several senators, who had not previously taken a public position on ENDA, announced their support for the bill. They included Democratic senators Bill Nelson (Florida), Mark Pryor (Arkansas), and Joe Manchin (West Virginia). Republican Senator Rob Portman (Ohio) indicated he would be "inclined to support" it as well.

According to The Washington Blade, ENDA now has the highest number of co-sponsors of any legislation specific to an LGBT issue, including the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell in 2010 and the 2001 version of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

ENDA has existed in varying forms since the 1970s, but has yet to be put into law. In 2007, the year Rep. Barney Frank added protections for trans people to the bill, the House of Representatives approved it but it couldn't make it through the Senate due to filibusters. While the Senate is likely set to pass ENDA this time around, the House may prove to be a different story. It's not too late to contact your representative and let them know about your support for equality!

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