A major LGBT-rights bill that would prohibit most employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity will be supported by every Democratic member of the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Joe Manchin (W.V.) became the last Democratic holdout to signal his support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on Wednesday morning. First reported by The New York Times, a Manchin spokesperson confirmed to Metro Weekly that the senator will vote for ENDA, but will not co-sponsor the bill.
Manchin, who is one of the few Democratic senators to not endorse same-sex marriage and voted against the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" only to later express regret for his vote, was the last of three Democratic holdouts to back ENDA. Tuesday evening the Arkansas Times reported Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.) would vote yes on ENDA after Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.) signed on as a cosponsor of the bill Monday evening.
Following the swearing in of Senator-elect Cory Booker of New Jersey tomorrow, Manchin's support puts the legislation one vote shy of the 60-vote threshold necessary for ENDA's passage. A focus remains on key Republican senators advocates believe can be swayed to support the legislation, which is expected to be considered by the Senate before Thanksgiving.
Although Senate passage of ENDA would be a major victory for a bill that has languished in Congress for decades, there remains no clear path forward for the bill in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
[Photo: Joe Manchin. Credit: U.S. Senate.]