Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a
Democrat, on Monday signed on as a co-sponsor of the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), putting the legislation just three
votes shy from passage in the Senate.
“We are proud to see Senator Nelson
standing on the right side of history and standing up for the values
of equality and fairness,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality
Florida, the state's largest LGBT rights advocate. “He is a leader
who listens to the facts and has also listened to his heart.”
The endorsement came on the same day
that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he'll bring up
the bill for a vote on the Senate floor before Thanksgiving.
Only two Democratic senators have yet
to sign on as ENDA co-sponsors: Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark
Pryor of Arkansas.
ENDA, which seeks to prohibit workplace
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,
cleared a Senate committee in July. Three Republicans – Senators
Mark Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Orrin Hatch of
Utah – joined all Democrats on the committee in sending the bill to
the full Senate.
reiterates support for gay protections bill ENDA.)