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 HatchDrug prices are declining amid inflation fears The national action imperative to achieve 30 by 30 Financial market transactions should not be taxed or restricted MORE (Utah), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP torpedoes election bill; infrastructure talks hit snag White House digs in as infrastructure talks stall Schumer vows next steps after 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE (Alaska), and Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission  Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls 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 HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinWe need a voting rights workaround Romney's TRUST Act is a Trojan Horse to cut seniors' benefits Two more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers 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 Mason ReidBiden fails to break GOP 'fever' Nevada governor signs law making state first presidential primary Infighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms 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 AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain 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.