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WATCH: The Best Moments from the Senate's ENDA Debate

WATCH: The Best Moments from the Senate's ENDA Debate


Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa said ENDA's passage would make this "an uplifting week," amid comments from several senators on both sides of the aisle in support of the legislation.


There have been some remarkable floor speeches this week in the U.S. Senate in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which passed the chamber for the first time in history with broad bipartisan support Thursday.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin noted her historic position as the first openly LGBT member of the chamber, and Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, one of the ten Senate Republicans who voted in support of the bill, spoke passionately about the legacy of equality in his first floor speech since recovering from a stroke. But there were many others.

California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer reiterated that it's time to pass the legislation, name-checking a story The Advocate's Michelle Garciareported about Marty Edwards, a Texas bank executive who was fired when he asked his supervisors if his sexual orientation played a role in him being passed up for promotions for more than decade.

Watch Boxer's comments below and find more video highlights from the Senate debate on ENDA on the following page. And find out how the final vote broke down here.

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.

Vote for Cloture on Senate 815 -- The Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Alphabetical by Senator Name
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Ayotte (R-NH), Yea
Baldwin (D-WI), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea
Blunt (R-MO), Not Voting
Booker (D-NJ), Yea
Boozman (R-AR), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Not Voting
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Not Voting
Coats (R-IN), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Not Voting
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Coons (D-DE), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
Cruz (R-TX), Nay
Donnelly (D-IN), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Fischer (R-NE), Nay
Flake (R-AZ), Nay
Franken (D-MN), Yea
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Heinrich (D-NM), Yea
Heitkamp (D-ND), Yea
Heller (R-NV), Yea
Hirono (D-HI), Yea
Hoeven (R-ND), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johanns (R-NE), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Johnson (R-WI), Nay
Kaine (D-VA), Yea
King (I-ME), Yea
Kirk (R-IL), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Lee (R-UT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Manchin (D-WV), Yea
Markey (D-MA), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
McCaskill (D-MO), Not Voting
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Merkley (D-OR), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Moran (R-KS), Not Voting
Murkowski (R-AK), Not Voting
Murphy (D-CT), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Paul (R-KY), Nay
Portman (R-OH), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Risch (R-ID), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Rubio (R-FL), Nay
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schatz (D-HI), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Scott (R-SC), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Toomey (R-PA), Yea
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Not Voting
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Warren (D-MA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring, The Advocate's copy chief, has spent much of her journalistic career covering the LGBT movement. When she's not fielding questions about grammar, spelling, and LGBT history, she's sharing movie trivia or classic rock lyrics.
Trudy Ring, The Advocate's copy chief, has spent much of her journalistic career covering the LGBT movement. When she's not fielding questions about grammar, spelling, and LGBT history, she's sharing movie trivia or classic rock lyrics.