Thank you Senator Johnson. You will be missed.Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) became the 53rd cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on Tuesday, leaving just three Democratic senators who have not signed on.
ENDA would bar workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, providing protections to LGBT individuals. The office of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who is leading the Senate's push on ENDA, confirmed Johnson's cosponsorship to The Huffington Post. Johnson's office did not immediately return a request for comment.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) are the only Democrats who have not signed on as cosponsors, while Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) are the only Republican backers.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently said he expects the Senate will take up the legislation "soon." Merkley's office expects a committee markup on the bill shortly after Congress reconvenes following the July 4 recess.
Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is openly gay and has pushed for LGBT equality, told The Huffington Post on Monday that there "isn't even the remotest chance" that ENDA will pass Congress while Republicans control the House.
"I do think that the next time Democrats take over, we can do it," he said. - Huffington Post, 6/25/13
Barney Frank may be right about the House but this is still good news. Support for ENDA needs to keep growing and I also favor pressuring President Obama to sign on to an executive order to pass ENDA. Frank believes that Obama should use his executive order for issues like climate change and immigration reform. I think we need to not only put the pressure on the three remaining Democrats but also put pressure on Republicans like Senators Rob Portman (R. AK) and Lisa Murkowski (R. AK) who recently came out in support of marriage equality. Lets keep up the pressure on these remaining Senators:
Joe Manchin (D. WV): (202) 224-3954
Bill Nelson (D. FL): (202) 224-5274
Mark Pryor (D. AR): (202) 224-2353
Lisa Murkowski (R. AK): (202) 224-6665
Rob Portman (R. OH): (202) 224-3353