The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would ban hiring and employment discrimination against LGBT individuals, will proceed in the Senate after 61 senators voted for a cloture motion that will lead to a final vote on the bill.
Maryland Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin were among the legislators to vote "yes" on cloture, which limits the amount of time ENDA can be debated before a final vote on the measure is eventually held. Seven Republicans voted in support of the bill: ENDA co-sponsors Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Susan Collins of Maine, as well as Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Dean Heller, (Nev.) Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah).
Thirty senators opposed invoking cloture on the bill.
"I firmly believe that people should be judged based on their individual skills, competence, and unique talents — and nothing else," Mikulski said in a statement. "ENDA would close an enormous gap in our civil rights laws."
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin spoke in favor of ENDA prior to Monday night's vote, while no lawmaker spoke in opposition.
Many ENDA supporters looked at Monday night's vote as a key test of the measure's staying power in the Senate. A final vote on the bill is expected later this week.