The House voted 235-184 on Wednesday to give anti-discrimination protections to gay, lesbian and bisexual workers. The bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would make it illegal for businesses with 15 or more employees, except the military, religious groups, and private clubs, to make decisions about hiring, firing, promotions, and pay on the basis of sexual orientation.
200 Democrats and 35 Republicans voted for the bill, while 25 Democrats and 184 Republicans voted against it. There was a 25 point gender gap, with 75% of female Representatives voting for the bill and only 50% of male Representatives voting in favor.
“This is truly an historic day. History teaches us that progress on civil rights is never easy. It is often marked by small and difficult steps. We must take this step today toward the ideal of equality that is both our heritage and our hope,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), reports the Los Angeles Times.
President Bush has threatened to veto it if it reaches him, reports CQ.com.