Democratic Senators Mark Pryor (Arkansas) and Joe Manchin (West Virginia) announced today they would vote in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. All Democratic Senators have now said they will support the bill.
With tomorrow's swearing in of Senator Cory Booker and the two Republican co-sponsors, 59 Senators will have announced their support of the legislation. 60 votes are needed to break a filibuster.
Two other Senators, Republicans Orrin Hatch and Lisa Murkwoski voted in favor of ENDA during the committee stage and are expected to vote for it again. Republican Senator Rob Portman, who announced his support for same-sex marriage after learning his son is gay, has said he is "inclined to vote for it." If all three vote to support the legislation, it has enough votes to avoid a filibuster and pass on the floor of the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has previously said that the bill would come to the floor sometime during November, but according to the Buzzfeed, the chamber could start debate as early as next week.
"Late last night, Leader Reid informed Leader McConnell that the Senate will consider ENDA next week. It's still unclear as to when Leader Reid will file for cloture," HRC vice president of communications Fred Sainz told the site.
Senator Reid, however, didn't sound as certain on the timing in an interview this morning. "I don't know if we'll do it next week but we're going to do it this work period," Reid told the Washington Blade. "The lead Democrat on that has been [Sen.] Jeff Merkley of Oregon and he said earlier today he has 59 supporters. So, that's pretty good. That's counting a new senator on Thursday."
Fairness West Virginia Executive Director Casey Willits praised Manchin for today's announcement.
"We are proud to see Sen. Joe Manchin standing on the right side of history and standing up for the values of equality and fairness. Senator Manchin has sat down with many LGBT West Virginians time and time again and heard first hand the stories of the harm inflicted by discrimination," Willits said. "His support is vital to passing this legislation into law and protecting the millions of LGBT workers in the nation."