Today the United States Senate is scheduled to vote on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would make it illegal to discriminate in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
ENDA has been introduced in nearly every Congress since 1994, failing every time. It failed by one vote in 1996.
Before you get too excited about this legislation, which in 2013 should have been law for years already, please take note that Speaker Boehner is, unsurprisingly, bending to the will of his conservative Members in the House. He stands firmly against it. Though the bill has garnered Republican support in the Senate — making it likely to pass when the vote is held — and has the support of President Obama, its path towards becoming law is much narrower without the support of House Leadership.
It would be difficult to imagine Republicans not paying an electoral price for this abomination, another failure, another worthy law blocked by obstinate Tea Party-driven Republicans.
It is 2013. In the last several years — too late, but better late than never — our nation has made strides when it comes to equality. States are recognizing same-sex marriage. Gay people may now serve openly in the military thanks to the end of the despicable Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. DOMA was effectively gutted by the Supreme Court. President Obama himself has evolved on the issue of gay marriage, specifically, but he has been the most progressive president in American history when it comes to issues of equality.
When it comes to ENDA, I am afraid the majority of the country has evolved well past the apparent capabilities of our duly elected representatives in Washington, D.C. We all ought to remember this next November.