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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 advances out of committee, faces full Senate test next

Sen. Todd Harkin

Gay rights supporters in Washington have been trying to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for years, but renewed momentum thanks to two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage cases have put a new focus on workplace protections for the country's LGBT workers.

The U.S. Senate's committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions today passed H.B. 815, the 2013 version of ENDA.

ENDA, in its current form, would prohibit employers from firing, refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating against workers solely based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Another GOP senator endorses same-sex marriage

Sen. Lisa Murkowski

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today endorsed marriage equality in a letter posted to her official senate website. Murkowski became the third Republican senator to endorse same-sex marriages with her announcement.

Murkowski joined fellow GOP Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) with her endorsement for marriage equality.

“I am a life-long Republican because I believe in promoting freedom and limiting the reach of government. When government does act, I believe it should encourage family values,” Murkowski wrote. “I support the right of all Americans to marry the person they love and choose because I believe doing so promotes both values: it keeps politicians out of the most private and personal aspects of peoples’ lives – while also encouraging more families to form and more adults to make a lifetime commitment to one another.”

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Gay rights flip-flopper Karen Handel runs for U.S. Senate

karen handel publicity photo

Looks like LGBT Georgians can expect another turn as campaign cannon fodder, as Karen Handel has entered the race for U.S. Senate.

The seat, left open when Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) decided not to seek re-election, has already drawn a crowd of GOP big wigs, including U.S. Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston.

None of those congressmen could remotely be described as friends of the LGBT community, but Handel's entrance makes the race even more likely to go anti-gay.

Why? Because Handel was our friend before she wasn't.

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Anti-gay politicos may flock to race to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss admitted an anti-gay blog comment originated from his Atlanta office

The race to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) could turn into a battle over who is the most anti-gay. Most of the popular candidates indentified in recent survey of voters have records of opposing LGBT equality, including frontrunners Sonny Perdue and Karen Handel.

Chambliss announced late last week his intention to retire at the end of his current term in Washington, D.C., which ends in 2014.

“After much contemplation and reflection, I have decided not to run for re-election to the Senate in 2014,” Chambliss said in a statement released to media Jan. 25.