Today the U.S. Senate voted to approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a law that prohibits discrimination against LGBT employees in the workforce.

Sixty-one members of the Senate in a bipartisan effort voted to approve the bill that has languished in Congress for some 20 years. The 61-30 vote means ENDA clears the cloture requirement needed for a floor debate and final vote on the bill expected to come later this week.

House Speaker John Boehner, however, has said he is opposed to the legislation meaning it will not likely pass.

Breaking: Senate votes to approve ENDA

President Barack Obama urged the Senate to approve the passage of the bill over the weekend when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced last week he wanted the bill to go up for a vote before Thanksgiving.

Anti-gay groups have come out in droves to try to halt the passage of the bill.

President Obama’s press secretary issued this statement tonight after the bill was passed:

The President welcomes the Senate’s bipartisan first step towards final passage of S. 815, the Employment Non‑Discrimination Act of 2013.  He has long supported an inclusive ENDA, which would establish lasting and comprehensive Federal protections against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

He thanks the lawmakers from both sides of the aisle who have stood up for America’s core values of fairness and equality, and looks forward to the Senate’s consideration of ENDA. He also encourages lawmakers to ensure that the legislation remains true to its goals as it is considered.

Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, issued this statement:

We’re now one step closer to achieving employment protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. This vote clears a critical hurdle in the advancement of this historic piece of legislation — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We call upon all senators to stand with the majority of Americans who support the basic principle that everyone should have access to the American Dream, free from discrimination because of who they are or who they love. We urge the senators to vote for ENDA when it reaches the floor for a final vote.