Landmark Reached For Gay Rights

By Ellie Romano 11-7-13

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

A huge bridge has been crossed for gay rights.

The senate passed a bill banning workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers. Similar protection bills have been pushed for passage for nearly two decades now.

The vote reflects the nation’s rapidly evolving attitude toward gay rights. The final tally was 64-32.

Despite the bipartisan vote, the measure’s chances in the house of representatives are not good. The GOP-controlled house is expected to stop the bill from moving forward. Speaker of the House John Boehner is a known opposer of the bill in the house.

Regardless, gay rights advocates deemed the Senate passage as a major victory. Ten republicans crossed lines to join join 54 members of the Democratic caucus to support the bill.

Opponents of the bill said the measure could generate costly litigation for employers. The bill would limit labor unions, government agencies, and private employers from making decisions about hiring, firing, promotions or other matters based on a worker’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Justice Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. courts will enforce workplace discrimination claims. As of now, 22 states ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 18 also ban discrimination based on gender identity. The bill, also known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would extend these protections nationally.

Supporters of the bill remain optimistic about the opposition it is to face in the House of Representatives.