Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

S 1584, the Senate Version of ENDA - What's the Math?

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | August 06, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: 3017, employment discrimination, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, HR3017, S 1584, Senate

Yesterday, as reported here, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, S 1584, was introduced into the U.S. Senate by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, along with three other co-sponsors, two of them Republicans.

Badmath.jpgIt has been widely noted in press releases that it's the first time ENDA has been introduced in the Senate, though it has been in the House in many forms on and off since 1974. This is significant not only for its historic nature, but it also signals that the real battles on this legislation are to be found in the Senate. After all, as I pointed out last month, the U.S. Senate is the only spot on earth where a majority of 100 is not 50, but 60.

After adding in all the co-sponsors of S 1584, there are 44 Senators with confirmed yes votes, as you can see on the Facebook Inclusive ENDA Senate spreadsheet. Another 16 votes must be found before S 1584 can be passed.

16 votes doesn't sound like a lot, but it's a big chunk of the Senate. Some Senators will require a lot of persuading, like someplace very hot freezing over or certain oinking mammals sprouting wings and flying.

If your Senators are unconfirmed, you should be on the phone right now, asking them to co-sponsor S 1584. Click here for a list of the unconfirmed Senators with contact info.

Where Do We Find 16 Votes?

Where can we get those additional 16 votes? My guesstimate is that there are another 14 Senators more or less likely to vote yes, though unconfirmed as of yet.

Why do I think they will vote in favor of a bill protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity? After a search of prior bills going back to the 108th Congress, I have found that all of these Senators have previously co-sponsored bills with sexual orientation and gender identity language (except as noted below).

Doesn't mean they definitely will now, but it's not a pigs-flying cold-heck type of guess. Here they are, with contact info.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) 870-910-6896
Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-CO) 719-328-1100
Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-DE) 302-674-3308
Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-DE) 302-424-8090
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) 812-218-2317
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) 504-589-2427
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) 573-651-0964
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) 406-756-1150 (SO only)
Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) 701-852-0703 (SO only)
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 775-882-7343 (SO only)
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) 605-226-3440
Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) 304-264-4626 (neither SO nor GI, but his record suggests support)
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, IV (D-WV) 304-253-9704

Hey! That's Only 14!

But despair not, dear heart! There are another 9 on the Facebook Inclusive ENDA target list because they all voted for the hate crimes bill, with the exception of Sen. Ensign. But Ensign, surprisingly, previously co-sponsored the hate crimes bill in 2005 (S1145), so you never know.

We only need 3 of these (if the other 14 all give their support). Here they are, with contact info. You should call them, too, and ask them to co-sponsor S1584).

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) 907-271-3735
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) 501-324-6336
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) 850-942-8415
Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) 812-465-6313
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) 406-257-3360
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) 336-333-5311
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) 701-852-0703
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) 702-388-6605
Sen. George Voinovich (R) 216-522-7095

There are another 44 unconfirmed Senators. They are perhaps less likely, but should not be ruled out.

Call Now And Ask Them To Co-Sponsor

The bottom line here is that we are very close in the Senate, but there are still 30 states with unconfirmed Senators: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CO, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NV, OH, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY

You should call these Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, S 1584. Oh, and put the telephone number to Congress on your speed dial. It's number 5 on my cellphone. 202-224-3121.

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Meghan Stabler | August 6, 2009 12:05 PM


Thank you so much for keeping the House and Senate I-ENDA lists of legislators up to date for us. I truly appreciate your work on this.


Jillian, this is an awesome list and it's amazing to see just how close we really are to getting this bill passed into law.

It's worth remembering, however, that Robert Byrd is a former KKK member and was one of only three Democrats who voted in favor of a Federal Marriage Amendment. I'm not sure how Byrd's record suggests support for LGBT rights. In fact, what I've read of it suggests precisely the opposite.

Jilian - I received this response from Senator Tester:

Dear Roberta:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your concerns about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). I appreciate your insight and perspective on these important issues facing our nation. Your input is a critical part of making sure that the laws we pass in the Senate reflect Montana priorities.

I support this act because discrimination based on someone's race, religion, or sexual orientation is especially disturbing. As you know, the ENDA would make it illegal for an employer or labor organization to fire, refuse to employ, or promote an employee based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Such acts would be considered employment discrimination and therefore subject to severe penalties.

Our country was founded by people seeking religious freedom and I respect the right of every citizen to express their religious views, no matter what religion they may practice. That being said, I also strongly believe in the necessity of separating church and state. Therefore, it is important to note that there is an exception to the ENDA for religious organizations, associations, educational institutions, or societies, allowing them to require that applicants and employees conform to religious tenets declared significant by their organization.

I hope that you will contact me again in the future with your thoughts or if I can be of further assistance.


Jon Tester
United States Senator

Senator Baucus did not say no, but, was far less encouraging.

Stonewall Girl | August 10, 2009 7:24 PM


That is great news from Sen Tester! As far as Baucus is concerned, you might want to remind him about the Democratic Party Platform which includes "gender identity" as well as the news that the DNC itself will be codifying "gender identity or expression" in their by-laws as part of their non-discrimination policy.

Framing the question to them in such a manner may help some of these cowboys actually develop some gonads re LGB and T issues.