House Democrats on the Education &
Labor Committee appear to be united in favor of passage of the
Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would outlaw
employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and
The committee has scheduled a November
18 final markup of the legislation where members will decide whether
the bill reaches the House floor for a final vote this session.
Democrats control the committee with 30
members, while Republicans remain in the minority with 19.
All but three Democratic members are
co-sponsors of the legislation. Those three members also appear
likely to vote in favor of the legislation introduced in June by
openly gay Representative Barney Frank, a Democrat from
Massachusetts. Nevada's Dina Titus along with Jason Altmire from
Pennsylvania and Marcia Fudge from Ohio previously voted in favor of
the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the first major federal gay rights
bill signed into law last month by President Obama. The legislation
expands the definition of federal hate crimes to include sexual
orientation and gender identity.
Two House floor non-voting
representatives – Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico and Gregorio
Kilili Camacho Sablan of the Northern Mariana Islands – also sit on
the committee. Both representatives have also signed on as
co-sponsors of ENDA.
At least four Republicans support the
Pennsylvania's Todd Russell Platts
along with Judy Biggert of Illinois and Michael Castle from Delaware
are co-sponsors of the legislation. While Louisiana Representative
Bill Cassidy appears likely to support the bill after voting in favor
of the Hate Crimes bill.
The Democratic solidarity nearly
guarantees the committee will approve the bill. Support in the
House, where the measure was approved in 2007 before it fizzled out
in the Senate, also appears robust.
committee markup has been postponed.