The Human Rights Campaign joined North Carolina business leaders Tuesday in Charlotte, NC at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg City Government Center during a press conference to show support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (AP)

Wednesday morning, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions approved the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, as it’s commonly referred to. The bill prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It was first considered by the committee in 2002 and was the subject of hearings in 2009 and 2012. Three Republicans, Sens. Orrin Hatch (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Ala.) and the bill’s original co-sponsor, Mark Kirk (Ill.) joined 12 Democrats to quickly approve what committee chairman Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) called “historic legislation.”

In his statement, Harkin reiterated the main points of the bill, stressing that passage was not only “the right thing to do” but also “good for business.”

“434 of Fortune 500 companies have implemented non-discrimination policies … 282 companies have policies that include gender identity,” he cited.