West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) means all 54 Democrats in the US senate are backing a pivotal piece of LGBT legislation.

Mr Manchin confirmed that he would vote to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual preference or gender identity on Wednesday.

“There’s no way that I could ever not support something that basically bans discrimination,” the Democrat said.

“There’s no way. It’s just a fundamental right.”

All 54 members of the Democratic majority have voted to protect LGBT people in the workplace.

Only one vote is needed to overcome a filibuster and to clear the 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

The passage of ENDA would be the most significant piece of LGBT rights legislation since Congress repealed the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on openly gay troops in late 2010.

It would be the first measure of its kind to advance to the floor in either house of Congress.

Previous versions of the bill that have come to a vote have not included provisions for transgender people.

29 out of the 50 US states do not have legislation to protect LGBT employees. 

Since 2003, it is illegal to fire somebody on the basis of their sexual orientation in the UK.