After clearing a significant procedural vote on Monday, legislation banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was pressed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in a Senate floor speech in advance of a final vote later this week.
In her address, Warren said “the failure to treat all our citizens with the same dignity is shameful” and cited the efforts of the late Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.) and Rep. Bella Abzug (D-N.Y.) to illustrate the decades-long effort to protect LGBT individuals from workplace discrimination. It is currently illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, nationality, religion, age or disability.
Watch Warren's speech above.
The Senate voted 61-30 on Monday to end debate on the bill.
Warren also tweeted her support for the bill and approval of the Senate's actions on Monday:
Proud to help bring #ENDA to a vote in the Senate and continue Sen Kennedy’s work making sure LGBT workplace discrimination is not tolerated
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) November 4, 2013
Warren has long been an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights, having fought for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA, the federal law against recognizing same-sex marriage, had a key component of it struck down in June by the Supreme Court.
A growing number of lawmakers are hoping to extend protection of LGBT rights to the workplace with the passage of ENDA. Senate passage appears certain, with seven Senate Republicans joining fifty-four Democrats in Monday’s vote for cloture. No senators spoke in opposition of the bill on Monday, as noted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Warren’s speech and the anticipated Senate passage of ENDA will be met by strong opposition in the House. On Monday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reaffirmed his opposition. However, if the measure clears both houses, President Barack Obama has made it clear that he would sign it into law. In an op-ed for The Huffington Post, Obama urged Congress to pass the bill.
As The Huffington Post reported earlier this week, a final Senate vote on ENDA is likely on Thursday.