A Republican congressman who has previously voted against gay rights has become a co-sponsor of ENDA, a bill which provides protections from homophobia in the workplace.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is being blocked by his fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives, with the House speaker saying he will not call a vote on it.

Mike Coffman, who represents Colorado’s 6th District in the House, said he could no longer stand against the bill.

He said: “I see this legislation as the workplace equivalent of the Golden Rule — do unto others, as you would have them do unto you

“In the workplace, in 2014, we should judge employees the way we would want to be judged — based on our qualifications, our contributions and by our character, period.”

According to the Washington Blade, Coffman has previously opposed gay rights, voting against the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, and arguing against same-sex marriage.

He is the seventh Republican to throw his support behind the bill, which needs the support of more Republicans before it stands a chance of passing through the House.