“A measure that would outlaw workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity overcame a significant obstacle in the Senate on Monday as seven Republicans crossed party lines and voted to begin debate on the bill,” reports the New York Times.
The 61-30 vote marks the first time since 1996 that the full Senate will consider a measure to extend federal nondiscrimination law to gay, lesbian and bisexual people — a stark reminder, supporters said, that as the public has come around to accepting gay rights, Congress has been slow to keep pace.
It is also the first time that either house of Congress has voted on a nondiscrimination bill that includes transgender people. …
Despite passing this procedural test, the fate of the bill remained uncertain. The Republican-controlled House was already signaling that the bill was going nowhere fast. Even before the Senate could act on Monday, Speaker John A. Boehner said through his spokesman that the bill “will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.”
Nondiscrimination legislation including sexual orientation and gender identity has languished in Congress for nearly 40 years.