Meant to give members of the LGBT community protection under federal law, EDNA could also have larger implications for allowing women another outlet for seeking remedies to workplace discrimination. This law could be effective in helping lesbian and transgender women, who suffer from the double stigma of their sex and sexual orientation/transgender identity, seek a remedy for such discrimination. Currently, discriminating against individuals based on sexual orientation is illegal in only 22 states, and discriminating based on gender identity is illegal in 18. Thus, this law could have a large effect in states where such protection doesn't exist.
ENDA has been introduced repeatedly, but was last voted upon in 2007, when it was approved by the House. Considering the bill has been around since 1997, it may be surprising that it hasn't already been passed or been called up for a vote since 2007, especially since Democrats have had control of the Senate since 2009. During 2009-2011, Democrats had control of both Houses of Congress, suggesting that the legislation could have been called up for a vote and passed while Democrats still had control over the agenda of both houses of Congress. Even though Democrats have control over the Senate's agenda, it seems surprising that the bill would be considered again now, when Republicans control the House and are unlikely to consider the bill.
The renewed interest in the bill could be due to a variety of factors, the most obvious being the increased popular support. After the recent decisions of the Supreme Court that supported the rights of LGBT individuals, it seems that public opinion may be shifting towards accepting legislation like ENDA. By substantively representing the changing beliefs of constituents, members of Congress may feel that shifting their support towards this bill would reflect the shift in overall public opinion. Especially for Democrats, supporting this legislation could be important in securing support from LGBT interest groups, whose scoring on their roll call votes could give them a boost amongst LGBT constituents, as well as constituents who support LGBT rights.
Moreover, the bill is said to have some support from about six Republican senators, who may be attempting to reach across the aisle (or seem as if they are reaching across the aisle) to gain back some of the legitimacy lost through the controversial government shutdown dealings, represent the shifting public beliefs, and credit claim. These Republicans are mostly located in states that are more moderate, suggesting that they would not be potentially isolating very conservative constituents.