“Boehner’s anti-gay turn threatens GOP”

MSNBC

By Bengy Sarlin

Official portrait of United States House Speak...
Official portrait of United States House Speaker (R-Ohio). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Few voters would be surprised to learn Speaker John Boehner came out against a Senate bill banning discrimination against LGBT employees  For Republicans, that’s a problem.

On Monday night, the Senate voted to open debate on The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, overcoming a filibuster with 61 votes thanks to support from a handful of Republicans. Not a single Republican Senator delivered a speech opposing its passage. President Obama is campaigning for the bill in the run up to the final vote, which is expected later this week.

Politically, voting “yes” should be a no-brainer. While support for gay marriage only recently crossed into majority backing, the margin is overwhelming for workplace protection. Republican pollster Alex Lundry found 68% of respondents supported its passage in September. Not only that, about to 8 in 10 respondents assumed incorrectly that such anti-discrimination measures were already in place. Both these results track closely with an earlier poll by the liberal Center for American Progress in 2011.

But majority support, even overwhelming majority support, isn’t good enough for the House GOP on ENDA. Just as it isn’t good enough on immigration or keeping the government funded without incident.

“The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,” Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, said in a statement.

While not an entirely new position for Boehner, who has claimed in the past that existing employment laws provide sufficient protection for LGBT Americans, his renewed criticism means ENDA will likely not get a vote in the House this year.

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