Last week, Democratic Congressional leaders admitted that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would not be scheduled for votes in the House or Senate this year. ENDA would amend Title VII, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender or transgender identity. The bill remains in committee, with ongoing negotiations centering on penalties and the extent of prohibitions against gender identity discrimination.
ENDA appears to have enough votes to pass in the House, and President Obama has expressed his support of the legislation. The Senate will need 60 votes to overcome a threatened Republican filibuster of the bill. Given distractions over pending healthcare reform, Democrats could not be assured of enough votes this year.
ENDA remains the top legislative priority of gay and lesbian advocacy groups. Employers can expect a strong push for the bill next year before mid-term Congressional elections are held.