A historic gay rights bill that prevents companies from hiring and firing employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity has been passed by the US Senate on Thursday.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed 64-32, with support from both Democrats and Republicans.
Advertisement"The Senate has clearly spoken to end discrimination in the workplace," said Democratic Senator Jeff Merkely, who led the push to get the legislation approved in the Democratic-led chamber.
"Now I hope the momentum will carry to the House."
The measure faces a tough challenge in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where Speaker John Boehner has signalled his opposition on the basis that it hurts business and would trigger costly lawsuits.