Bill Nelson Finally Decides Gays Should Have Jobs
Up until this morning Florida's Bill Nelson was one of just three Democrats left in the Senate who didn't support the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. After Equality Florida launched a "twitterbomb" on him last week though, Nelson announced he'd sign on as a co-sponsor.
Even as gay marriage flourishes across the country on the state-level, LGBT activists have been frustrated for decades that the federal government has not passed ENDA. The bill, as written now, would outlaw hiring and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for all nonreligious, civilian employees with 15 or more employees.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that he'd bring the bill up for a vote by Thanksgiving. With Nelson's support, the bill currently has 56 co-sponsors. Once New Jersey's Cory Booker is sworn in that will likely rise to 57. The bill needs 60 votes to pass the Senate obstacle-free. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) are the only two Democratic senators left not to co-sponsor the bill, though two Republican senators have done so.
The vote would be the first time ENDA legislation has been brought to the floor of either house since 2007. Though, the vote would largely be symbolic. Its unlikely the House version will make it to the floor under John Boehner.