For the first time since November 2007, a vote is scheduled to be taken on The Employment and Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) later this evening.
The passage of ENDA by Congress and its subsequent signing into law by President Obama would make it illegal to discriminate against someone in
hiring or employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity
This trans inclusive version of the bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the Senate and has the public support of all 53 Democratic senators, both independent Senators and four Republicans. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) are ENDA co-sponsors, while Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) voted for it in committee. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) has indicated he is 'inclined to support the bill' and has a gay son and it true, it would bring the bill to the 60 vote threashold needed to cut off GOP-Tea Party attempts to filibuster it.
The trans community has long and bitter memories of being cut out of ENDA in 2007 by then Rep. Barney Frank in controversial circumstances. The trans free bill passed the House 235-184 but subsequently died in the Senate In 1996 another trans free version of ENDA was voted on in the Senate and failed 50-49.
This cloture vote will pave the way for that to happen, with the final vote scheduled to happen sometime on Wednesday.
We'll have to see what transpires (pun intended) in tonight's vote, but hope we get to witness history.