Photo: Via The Atlantic.
The long-embattled Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was passed today in the Senate by a 64-to-32 vote. The Democratic caucus led the way, with 10 Republican senators joining after the Senate avoided a filibuster earlier in the week. “Let the bells of freedom ring,” said Republican Senator Jeff Merkley at a press conference earlier today. “We have fought to capture that vision of equality, and liberty, and opportunity, and fairness embedded in our founding documents, in our founding vision. We’ve taken a huge stride today in that direction.”
One giant stride, but it's also one small step. The legislation now moves on to the House, but things don't look as rosy on that side of the hall, where Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have both intimated that it won't get a vote. The reason being, says Cantor, is that there are already discrimination laws in place, and this will be redundant. There is an element of truth to that claim, says The Atlantic, but not on a sweeping level, and protection varies from state to state.
And, based on the types of non-discrimination clauses per state, plus the way each Senate member voted, The Atlantic has ranked states from the most to least gay-friendly. Strict blue states like New York, California, and Illinois have tons of protection for alternative sexualities, while more red-leaning states, like Texas, Nebraska, and the overall South, are still lacking where gay rights are concerned.