The House Education and Labor Committee voted 27 - 21 to mark up the legislation, sending it to a full vote in the House.
ENDA, as currently worded, would make it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in hiring, firing, promoting or paying an employee. Churches and the military would be exempt.
Federal law already bans job discrimination based on factors such as race, gender and religion.
A number of Democrats on the committee attempted to reinsert gender identity without success. Several of them refused to vote in favor of marking up the bill as it stands - among them presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.
GOP attempts to weaken the bill also failed.
"Today marks the first vote ever taken on this important legislation in the House of Representatives since it was first introduced in 1975," said U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the chairman of the committee following the vote.
"It never should have taken over 30 years to get to this point, but I am proud that we have taken this historic step today."
OutFront Minnesota Alert:
Over the past two and a half weeks, the collective power of the GLBT and allied grassroots has been felt in unprecedented ways on Capitol Hill. We have been urging members of Congress to take up the original Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) (H.R. 2015), and drop consideration of the sexual orientation-only ENDA (H.R. 3685).
Gender identity must be included in this legislation!
Although we have not yet gotten what we are asking for, an up-or-down vote on the original Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 2015), Congresswoman Baldwin is now planning on offering a gender identity amendment on the floor of the House when the bill reaches the floor next week. This isn't normally allowed to happen - the Democratic majority rarely allows members the chance to amend a bill on the floor. The only reason this amendment is even an option is because of the grassroots pressure of the last few weeks.
Next week, possibly as early as Tuesday, the House will be voting on the Baldwin Amendment to add gender identity back into ENDA.
It is critical that you contact your member of Congress in support of the Baldwin Amendment immediately. We have only a few days to win over the necessary YES votes on the amendment.
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your Representative based on your zip code. Here is a suggested message:
Hello, my name is _____ and I live in your district. I am calling to ask the Representative to support the Baldwin Amendment to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The Baldwin Amendment adds gender identity protections back into ENDA and it is critically important to me that all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are protected by this legislation. I only support passage of H.R. 3685 if the Baldwin amendment passes. Thank you.
Or contact your US Representative directly:
District 1: Representative Tim Walz, (202) 225-2472
District 2: Representative John Kline, (202) 225-2271
District 3: Representative Jim Ramstad, (202) 225-2871
District 4: Representative Betty McCollum, (202) 225-6631
District 5: Representative Keith Ellison, (202) 225-4755
District 6: Representative Michele Bachmann, (202) 225-6475
District 7: Representative Collin Peterson, (202) 225-2165
District 8: Representative James Oberstar, (202) 225-6211
Suggested text of email:
Dear Representative ( ),
I am writing to urge you to support the Baldwin Amendment to HR 3685, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which is likely going to be voted on next week on the floor.
The Baldwin Amendment restores the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to its original language with gender identity protections intact.
The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is one community and the community wants to move forward together with one unified bill. As you have heard over the past few weeks, the majority of the GLBT community, myself included, opposes moving forward with a sexual orientation-only bill.
So where was OutFront with getting these action alerts out during the key last few days of the session when Margaret Anderson Kelliher and the house democrats threw the gay community under the bus?