On November 7, the Senate passed the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would amend Title VII to add discrimination protections to homosexual and transgendered employees. Ten Republicans voted for the legislation, but the primary argument against the bill is the lack of a strong exemption for faith based businesses. The current piece of legislation would only exempt explicitly religious organizations, like churches, but would not provide an exemption to a private faith based school or hospitals.
The bill has little chance of passing the House of Representatives, so it is not likely to become law. ENDA was last voted on in the Senate in 1996, when it failed by one vote, so this is the first time it has passed one house of Congress. It is important to keep in mind that many states and municipalities already have passed laws prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination. For example, in Texas, Austin and Fort Worth have such laws. For that reason, many large multi-state employers have already added sexual orientation to their harassment and discrimination policies, making a change in federal law duplicative.
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