7 GOP Senators Push Gay Rights Bill Over Hurdle
ENDA moves forward; faces tough fight in House
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2013 1:44 AM CST
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, right, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, stands with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, after last night's vote.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – A bill banning workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians looks certain to pass the Senate after clearing a key hurdle last night with Republican help, Roll Call reports. The chamber voted 61-30 to move forward with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a move that lifts ENDA past filibuster and all but guarantees its passage later this week. Seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting in favor, including three—Kelly Ayotte, Rob Portman, and Pat Toomey—who came out in favor after some last-minute deal-making, securing the 60 votes needed.

The bill will have a tough fight to become law—John Boehner remains opposed and says he won't bring it to the House floor—but advocates are heartened by the Senate vote and a major shift in attitudes in recent years. "There’s been a softer tone, and there’s been a recognition that anti-gay politics that may have worked in 2000 and in 2004 don’t work anymore," a senior adviser at a pro-gay rights group funded by Republican donors tells the Washington Post.