The Senate just voted 61-30 to allow for debate on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would make it illegal nationwide for employers to discriminate against LGBT people. It had the support of all Senate Democrats as well as several Republican Senators, including cosponsors Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), as well as Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Dean Heller (R-NV).
Surprise “aye” votes from Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) helped advance the bill over the finish line in the absence of expected votes from Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
Should the Senate vote to ultimately pass ENDA, it will be the first time the Senate has approved it in the 20 years it has been considered. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) expressed disapproval for ENDA Monday, suggesting the House will not similarly consider it after it passes the Senate. This means ENDA would persist as a pending bill into a third decade.