In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Senate To Vote On LGBT Rights Bill: Dems Expect To Break Filibuster

AP Photo

Social conservatives see ENDA as part of a broader national march toward LGBT rights. According to a report in the New York Times, they appear to be waging a whisper campaign spreading false claims such as that ENDA would require insurers to cover sex change operations, that it'd lead to children being taught by men in dresses and that it'd require Christian bookstores to hire drag queens.

Heritage Action, a well-funded activist group with substantial influence over Republicans, is pushing senators to filibuster ENDA. The organization announced last week it would include Monday's procedural vote in its legislative scorecard.

Workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians is already illegal in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Twenty-nine states have no laws banning employer bias on the basis of sexual orientation, and 33 states lack protections for workers on the basis of gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT rights group.

For Republicans, the issue a test of whether they're willing to follow the counsel of national party strategists and put on a friendlier face for the gay and lesbian community. For Democrats, it's a political win-win. They either score a policy victory or position themselves on the right side of an increasingly popular cause.

"[R]ight now, in 2013, in many states a person can be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender," President Barack Obama wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed published Sunday night. "It's offensive. It's wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense. That's why Congress needs to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act."