(Washington D.C., November 7, 2013)—Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by a vote of 64-32, marking the first time it has approved federal legislation that protects the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workforce from workplace discrimination. No federal law currently expressly protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination.

Now that ENDA has passed in the Senate, the bill moves to the House of Representatives. The House leadership, however, has indicated it is not willing to consider the legislation despite significant bipartisan support among House members and overwhelming public support. According to recent polls, 73% of Americans back ENDA. The vast majority of Fortune 500 companies and small businesses also support policies protecting LGBTQ workers from discrimination. President Barack Obama has long supported ENDA, and recently wrote a Huffington Post piece in which he urged Congress to pass the legislation.

Statement by NCLR Policy Director Maya Rupert, Esq.:

“Today’s bipartisan victory reflects the overwhelming national consensus that no one should have to face employment discrimination or the fear of being fired simply because of who they are. This vote is historic and signals a sea-change in the fight for workplace equality. It is no longer a question of if LGBTQ employees will receive federal workplace protections—it is a question of when.

We are grateful to everyone who has shown leadership on this critical issue, and we are ready to keep fighting. We look forward to continuing to work with Congressional leaders to make sure all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, have basic workplace protections.”