Toomey, Casey, Senate vote for ENDA
In a not-so-surprising move, both Pennsylvania senators Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey helped pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act through the U.S. Senate earlier today. The bill would make it illegal for businesses with 15 or more employees to make their hiring decisions based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill, which made headlines earlier this week when the Senate voted with 61 votes to end debate, now heads to the U.S. House, where passage is much less certain, if not impossible.
House Speaker John Boehner has already iterated, and reiterated his opposition to the bill, citing “frivolous law suits.” If we’re to believe his gutless opposition, then he will not allow a vote on the bill to even take place. No member of Congress has come out and just said they think members of the LGBT community should be fired for being who they are, yet.
Toomey was one of just 10 Republicans to vote for the bill, in spite of his amendment—which would have strengthened the bill’s protections of faith-based institutions—failing by a vote of 43-55.
In a statement after the vote, Toomey noted: “I have long believed that more legal protections are appropriate to prevent employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
Like the U.S. Congress, Pennsylvania has not passed an anti-discrimination law. Its iteration here, House Bill 300 and Senate Bill 300, have been held up in the state Legislature. Twenty-one states already protect the LGBT community in the workplace.