WATCH: The Best Moments from the Senate's ENDA Debate
BY Trudy Ring
November 05 2013 5:23 PM ET UPDATED: November 08 2013 8:11 PM ET
Watch a large segment of the Monday's Senate session, including speeches from Sen. Tom Harkin, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Sen. Dick Durbin and, Sen. Susan Collins, below:
Democratic senator Tom Harkin of Iowa said passing the bill would make this an “uplifiting week” in Congress. “We have had a lot of problems around this place over the last couple of months,” he said. “I know from the polls that Members of Congress, in both the House and the Senate, are probably about as popular as a toothache with the general public right now. But this week we can show the American people we can come together and we can lift our eyes above the haze and the smoke on the horizon, and we can make this country a better place for all of us by passing this bill. Let’s do this, and let’s bring to the American people what they think they have already and what they now want. That is, a society free of discrimination.” Watch his remarks below:
“The right to work is fundamental,” said Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican who's cosponsoring the bill. “How can we in good conscience deny that right to any LGBT American who is qualified and willing to work? Especially in today’s economy, job security has taken on an even greater importance to all Americans. How can we, in good conscience, tell one segment of Americans that they are not entitled to that security because of whom they love?” Watch her floor speech below.
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat, noted that young people support LGBT equality in greater numbers than their elders. “There are some who will decry this as the deterioration of American values,” he said. “Not me. I think it is an indication that each generation has an opportunity to expand opportunity, an opportunity to expand freedom, and to put to rest discrimination.”
Durbin's additional remarks:
Watch the speeches of Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland and Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, both Democrats, below:
Watch further remarks from Sen. Merkley, who is the bill's primary sponsor in the Senate, below. In his speech, Merkley states, “I look forward to this vote, this vote for liberty, this vote for freedom, this vote for opportunity, this vote for a fair and just America.”
Sen. Edward Markey of Massachussetts, a Democrat, makes his speech in support of ENDA. Watch it below.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a Democrat and also a Harvard professor, opened her moving speech with, "ENDA doesn’t provide any special rights to any particular groups of Americans. It does not compel any religious organization to change its views. It just creates a level playing field for LGBT workers; it makes sure that all workers are judged by the work they do, not by who they are or whom they love." Watch and learn below.
Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana, a Republican, voted against the bill. He was the only Republican to speak against the legislation through more than two days of debate, while 10 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for ENDA. Coats' speech was fueled by questions such as, “Do we want to support policies that discriminate against an employer’s religious beliefs and require employers to hire individuals who contradict their very most deeply held religious beliefs?” Watch it below.
Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, a Democrat, used the success of the non-discrimination law in Minnesota as an example that the same law can be successful on a national scale. “We have had this law in place for over 20 years in Minnesota, and what has been the effect?” Franken said. “For LGBT Minnesotans, it has meant that they don’t have to live in fear of being fired, or discriminated against in hiring, just because of who they are or whom they love. That is a big deal.” Watch Franken's remarks below.
Find out how your Senator voted on ENDA on the following page.