10 Republicans vote to end ENDA debate

Ten Republicans voted with Democrats Thursday to end debate on a bill aimed at ending employment discrimination against the LGBT community.

Final passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is expected around 2 p.m. Thursday.

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The lead sponsor of the legislation, Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyPresident Trump, listen to candidate Trump and keep Volcker Rule Senators push federal prisons to expand compassionate release Senate confirms Trump's new FBI director MORE (D-Ore.), said the bill was an issue of fairness and equality because it is legal in nearly half the states to fire someone based on sexual orientation.

Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsThe Hill's 12:30 Report DOJ warns the media could be targeted in crackdown on leaks Conway: Leaks of Trump's calls should have 'chilling effect' MORE (R-Ind.) was the only senator to speak in opposition to the bill after nearly one week of debate, highlighting the changing attitude across the country on gay rights.

“I feel it's vital for this body to stand up for our country's longstanding right to the freedom of religion and speech," Coats said. "For these reasons, I am not able to support this current legislation."

President Obama said he’d sign the legislation into law if it reached his desk, but it seems unlikely that the House will take up the measure.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerIt's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him How Republicans can bring order out of the GOP's chaos Republican donor sues GOP for fraud over ObamaCare repeal failure MORE (R-Ohio) on Monday said he is opposed to ENDA because it could increase “frivolous” lawsuits.

Because the Senate is expected to pass the bill with bipartisan support, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOPINION | 5 ways Democrats can win back power in the states THE MEMO: Trump's base cheers attacks on McConnell It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him MORE (D-Nev.) said John BoehnerJohn BoehnerIt's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him How Republicans can bring order out of the GOP's chaos Republican donor sues GOP for fraud over ObamaCare repeal failure MORE should allow a vote.

"I hope Speaker Boehner will reconsider his decision not to bring ENDA up for a vote," Reid said Thursday. "I can’t understand what is going on in the House of Representative. Legislation people want is being held up over there."

ENDA was first proposed in 1994 and passed the House in 2007 but fell one vote short in the Senate that year.