In first floor speech since stroke, Kirk backs ENDA

FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2013 file photo, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. speaks in Chicago. Proponents of a bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity are optimistic about the measure’s prospects ahead of a crucial Senate vote. Nearly 20 years after a similar bill failed by one vote, Republicans and Democrats have joined forces on a bill critical to gay rights advocates. The broad support reflects changing national views months after the Supreme Court expanded federal recognition of same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File) Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) (M. Spencer Green/AP)

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) delivered his first floor speech since he suffered a stroke nearly two years ago, promoting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

In a brief statement, Kirk made the case for a law he previously supported as a House member.

"I have risen to speak because I believe so passionately in enacting the ENDA statute," Kirk said, speaking clearly but at times haltingly. "You know, this is not a major change to law. It's already the law in 21 states."

The Senate is voting on the bill, which would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Kirk, 54, is one of few Republicans to announce his support for the bill, which appears primed to pass in the Senate but unlikely to pass in the House.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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