A Senate panel approved legislation Wednesday in a bipartisan 15-7 vote that would outlaw discrimination in the workplace based on an employee’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

Three Republicans joined 12 Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in approving the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

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The GOP votes came from Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Utah governor calls Bannon a 'bigot' after attacks on Romney MORE (Utah), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Week ahead: Trump expected to shrink two national monuments GOP on verge of opening Arctic refuge to drilling MORE (Alaska), and Mark KirkMark KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (Ill.). Hatch voted aye by proxy.

The legislation would outlaw any kind of discrimination based on sexual orientation including both hiring and firing and other employment related matters like salaries and terms of employment.

Federal law currently outlaws employment discrimination centered on age, disability, national origin, race, religion or sex but not gender identity or sexual orientation. ENDA aims to fill the hole in states in the 33 states where there is no separate law against discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

The vote came swiftly Wednesday morning just as the committee gaveled into session. Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinDemocrats are all talk when it comes to DC statehood The Hill's 12:30 Report Distance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday MORE (D-Iowa), the chairman of the committee, said this would be the first time the committee would report to the full Senate a bill that “prohibits discrimination based on sexual discrimination and gender orientation.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama MORE (D-Nev.) said he expected to hold a floor vote on the bill "soon." 

Despite the committee vote, it is unclear whether the legislation could gain the 60 votes necessary to surpass a Senate filibuster. The bill has not had a vote in the House or Senate floor since 2007, despite being reintroduced in multiple Congresses.

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference House conservatives, Ryan inch closer toward spending deal MORE (R-Tenn.) promised to introduce three amendments to the ENDA bill when it hits the Senate floor. According to his office, Alexander thinks the bill needs to give more guidance to employers.

One amendment says that an employer is not required to alter existing bathroom facilities. The amendment also lets an employer assign an employee transitioning from one gender to another to either a men's or women's bathroom or a shared bathroom as long as the assignment is meant to be as least disruptive to the office place as possible.

The second amendment defines an employee that is "transitioning" from one gender to a different one. The bill offers rights for individuals transitioning but does not definite when an employee is transitioning.

The third amendment strikes a provision in ENDA that allows sexual discrimination lawsuits to proceed even when the employer proved a legitimate reason for an action and proven that action would have been taken regardless of gender.

This story was updated at 16:39 p.m.