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Breaking: Senate votes to approve ENDA

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.

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ENDA vote to come before Thanksgiving

A vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act could come before Thanksgiving, according to sources in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Blade reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will announce today that he will bring ENDA to the floor for a vote possibly as soon as next week.

ENDA, a federal bill that would prohibit employers discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, has languished in Congress for years.

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Senate passes ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

The United States Senate voted to repeal the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy today. The move came just hours after the Senate passed a crucial cloture vote which allowed debate to close.

The earlier cloture vote was 63 to 33. A “super majority” of 60 votes was needed to end debate to allow an up or down vote. The final repeal vote needed just a simple majority of senators to pass.

The final repeal total was 65 to 31.

The House of Representatives passed an identical measure earlier in the week 250-175. President Barack Obama has called for the policy to be repealed and is widely expected to sign the bill into law.

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Reid announces ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ vote on Saturday

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced plans to scrap a 1,924-page spending bill from being debated and voted on during the final days of the current lame-duck congressional session in favor of votes on repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the DREAM Act.

According to Huffington Post, the Senate will vote on the measures Saturday starting with the DREAM Act and moving on to DADT repeal later in the day.

The House of Representatives passed a stand-alone repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members earlier this week by a wide margin. The Senate has been unable to move forward on the 2011 Defense Authorization Act that included repeal language, so Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.) and Susan Collins (R-Me.) introduced a stand-alone repeal.

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U.S. Senate again fails to move Defense Authorization Act, vote stalls ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

The U.S. Senate today failed to move forward on the 2011 Defense Authorization Act, which included repeal language for the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, after supporters of the bill were unable to get the necessary 60 votes to avoid a Republican filibuster.

Republicans blocked the cloture vote over objections to the procedure of the debate.

The vote total was 57 to 40.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took to the Senate floor moments before the vote to call for support. “In my effort to get this done, I don't know how I could have been more reasonable,” Reid said. “It's our troops that will pay the price.”

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After leading fight for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Sam Nunn now backs repeal

Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, who as a senator from Georgia helped lead the fight for the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, now says he agrees the policy can be repealed.

"Society has changed, and the military has changed," Nunn told the Associated Press this week.

The Senate Armed Services Committee held hearings on repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" last week, after the Pentagon released a report that found a large majority of military service members do not believe openly gay troops would have a negative impact.

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Advocates urge calls to senators on behalf of DADT vote

Local activists are urging supporters of a repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to call local senators to plea for a “yes” vote on the 2011 Defense Authorization bill cloture vote tentatively scheduled for tonight.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to bring a vote to the full Senate tonight, if time allows.

Here is a script, provided by one of our readers:

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Reid: Senate cloture vote on defense bill ‘likely’ tonight, includes ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said this morning on the Senate floor that a cloture vote on the 2011 Defense Authorization bill, which includes repeal language for the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, could be voted on tonight if time allowed, according to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

“And I’m likely going to move to my motion to reconsider on the Defense Authorization Act this evening,” Reid said. “Allowing, as I will indicate at that time, time for amendments to that piece of legislation.”

According to SLDN, Reid is “actively reaching out to his Republican colleagues to reach an agreement on how to proceed.”

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GOP senators vow to block lame-duck legislation over tax cuts

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sent a letter to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nv.) today stating that the entire GOP senate caucus will block cloture votes on any issue, including the planned 2011 Defense Authorization bill that includes repeal language for the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, until funding for the government and tax issues are settled, according to the Washington Post.

McConnell and the 41 other GOP senators are calling for an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts that are set to expire Dec. 31.

All 42 current Republican senators signed the letter to the Majority Leader.

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Obama renews call for DADT repeal after Pentagon report

President Barack Obama calls for DADT repeal

President Barack Obama responded to the Pentagon’s report on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” yesterday after Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Adm. Mullen presented the report’s findings to reporters.