Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon and
Mark Kirk of Illinois on Thursday will reintroduce the Senate version
of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) at a news conference
scheduled for 10:30AM.
The bill seeks to outlaw workplace
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
gay Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank reintroduced the bill in
the House last week. However, nearly half of the of the bill's
support from last year had eroded in the new Republican-dominated
Kirk is among the three Republicans
expected to co-sponsor the legislation out of the gate.
to gay weekly the Washington
Blade, Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe are
also backing the new effort.
While Collins and Snowe are considered
moderate Republicans with a strong record supporting gay rights,
Kirk, as a member of the House, last year angered gay rights
activists when he voted against repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,”
the 1993 law that forbids gay and bisexual troops from revealing
After winning his Senate seat, however,
Kirk reversed his position, and voted for repeal of the law.