DOMA Is 13 Years Old, ENDA Still Not Law

us-senateThe Human Rights Campaign’s Michael Cole today noted the “unhappy anniversary” taking place today: President Clinton’s signing of the Defense of Marriage Act into law 13 years ago today.  True, it is.  I was a sophomore at American University that day, one of the many “Students for Clinton-Gore ‘96″ on the liberal campus who were “down” on that day despite our otherwise strong support for the President.

Forget the repeal debate, though.  For me, what’s much more sad is the fact that 13 years ago, the Senate was one vote away from passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — and today it is still not the law of the land.

Why not?

To put this in perspective, Senator Max Baucus voted for ENDA back in 1996.  This is not a controversial measure among Democrats — and Republican Senators Collins and Snowe already are on board as co-sponsors, so I really hope that we see it passed into law by the year’s end.

Of note, only 14 of the 1996 “No” votes remain in the Senate.  They are Senators Bennett (R-UT), Bond (R-MO),  Byrd (D-WV), Cochran (R-MS), Grassley (R-IA), Gregg (R-NH), Hatch (R-UT), Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Kyl (R-AZ), Lugar (R-IN), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY) and Shelby (R-AL).

None of the 14 are co-sponsors of the bill introduced in the Senate earlier this year, which I discussed here.

[Edited, per correction in comments, to remove then-Sen. David Pryor, whose son Mark now holds his seat.]

For the full 1996 roll call, see below the jump.

* * * * *

104th Congress, Roll Call Vote No. 281: Employment Non-Discrimination Act

YEAs —49
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Bradley (D-NJ)
Breaux (D-LA)
Bryan (D-NV)
Bumpers (D-AR)
Chafee (R-RI)
Cohen (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
D’Amato (R-NY)
Daschle (D-SD)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Glenn (D-OH)
Graham (D-FL)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hatfield (R-OR)
Hollings (D-SC)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (R-VT)
Johnston (D-LA)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerrey (D-NE)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Moseley-Braun (D-IL)
Moynihan (D-NY)
Murray (D-WA)
Pell (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Robb (D-VA)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Simon (D-IL)
Simpson (R-WY)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Wellstone (D-MN)
Wyden (D-OR)

NAYs —50
Abraham (R-MI)
Ashcroft (R-MO)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brown (R-CO)
Burns (R-MT)
Byrd (D-WV)
Campbell (R-CO)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coverdell (R-GA)
Craig (R-ID)
DeWine (R-OH)
Domenici (R-NM)
Exon (D-NE)
Faircloth (R-NC)
Ford (D-KY)
Frahm (R-KS)
Frist (R-TN)
Gorton (R-WA)
Gramm (R-TX)
Grams (R-MN)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heflin (D-AL)
Helms (R-NC)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Kassebaum (R-KS)
Kempthorne (R-ID)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Mack (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nickles (R-OK)
Nunn (D-GA)
Pressler (R-SD)
Roth (R-DE)
Santorum (R-PA)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-NH)
Stevens (R-AK)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thompson (R-TN)
Thurmond (R-SC)
Warner (R-VA)

Not Voting – 1
Pryor (D-AR)

Popularity: 96% [?]

About the Author

Chris Geidner is the award-winning senior political & legal reporter at BuzzFeed and has written for Metro Weekly, The Atlantic Online, The American Prospect,, Salon and other publications, as well as at his blog, Law Dork. He has appeared regularly on television commenting on current affairs, including MSNBC, PBS, HLN & Current. Prior to moving to D.C. in 2009, he served as an attorney on the senior staff at the Ohio Attorney General's Office and had earlier worked for a leading Columbus law firm. An extended biography can be found here, and you can follow him on Twitter.