Senator Pat Toomey voted for the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) today. The bill would prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee or applicant based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Senator Toomey voted earlier in the week to end debate and proceed with the bill.
The state’s junior senator also sought an amendment to the bill that would balance the employee protection with the expressed protection of religious freedom. Toomey’s amendment was defeated 43-55. Three Republicans voted against his amendment while two Democrats voted for it. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) did not vote on the amendment.
Ultimately, ENDA passed by a 64-32 margin in the Senate. Senator Toomey was one of ten Republican Senators to vote for the bill.
“I have long believed that more legal protections are appropriate to prevent employment discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Senator Toomey said in a press statement after the vote.
“I also believe we need to strike a reasonable balance between protecting workers and protecting religious freedom. My amendment, which received bipartisan support, was a good-faith effort to modestly strengthen the bill’s protections for faith-based organizations whether they are a Catholic hospital or a Methodist elementary school.”
The Senator concluded that he hoped the House would consider his amendment if it took up the bill. Speaker John Boehner, however, has indicated that the House will not take up the bill.