A week ago, one of the gay-issues reporters who’s appeared on the Senate during the Employment Non-Discrimination Act debate got John McCain in his sights.
“Do you support ENDA, and banning discrimination of Americans over their sexual orientation?”
“That’s one way of looking at it,” shrugged McCain. He blew off the question and walked over to New York Times scribe Mike Liebovich to catch up.
Anyone watching the exchange would figure that McCain, who opposes gay marriage, would be a “no” on ENDA. But the adoption of some religious protections soothed him and fellow Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake. They joined eight other Republicans in the penultimate vote on ENDA, ensuring its passage.
Democrats took advantage of the moment by asking House Republicans if they really, really wanted to be left off the bandwagon.
“Every time we pass a bill, it’s like we’re banishing it to a faraway jail,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer.
“Our history books are littered with those public figures who say we can’t end discrimination based on race, discrimination based on disability, discrimination based on gender,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, delivering the lines with camera-ready outrage. It was up to John Boehner whether he wanted to join the blacklist. “His home state of Ohio is one of the 29 states that allow employers to discriminate.”
Senate Republicans no longer pose a problem for ENDA. The goal, for Democrats now, is shaming John Boehner until this becomes the umpteenth bill passed without most of Boehner’s Republicans supporting it.
UPDATE: And we’re done—it’s passed. Final Republican roll call: Kelly Ayotte, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Orrin Hatch, Dean Heller, Mark Kirk, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, and Pat Toomey.