| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Sexual orientation bias bill nears vote

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 8:12 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are unified in backing a bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a significant boost for the measure before a crucial Senate vote.

Sen. Joe Manchin, the last Democratic holdout, is now supporting the legislation, a spokesman said on Wednesday. The West Virginia lawmaker joins Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Bill Nelson of Florida, who said this week they back the legislation that is critical to gay rights advocates.

Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin, but it doesn't stop an employer from firing or refusing to hire a worker solely because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The bill would bar employers with 15 or more workers from using a person's sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for making employment decisions, including hiring, firing, compensation or promotion.

With a vote possible as early as next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., needs 60 votes to overcome a likely GOP-led filibuster. Reid has the support of all 52 Democrats, two independents and is expected to get the vote of Democrat Cory Booker, who will be sworn in as New Jersey senator on Thursday.

Four Republican senators also support the measure — Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — putting Reid within one vote of 60.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have approved laws banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 17 of those also prohibit employers from discriminating based on gender identity.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. EPA works on algae rules to protect from toxins found in lakes, rivers
  2. Washington project ensures long-term carbon storage
  3. Sex offender checks in with stolen boarding pass, authorities say
  4. Red tape blamed for lack of domestic fish farms
  5. Democrats face long odds in battle for lost congressional seats
  6. Hawaii confronts dengue fever cases
  7. Former police officer who was indicted found dead in Massachusetts home
  8. LA prostitution deterrent runs afoul of rights group
  9. Prescription skin drug costs skyrocket
  10. Foreign policy expert: Obama administration should create Syria safe areas
  11. U.S. has urged legal reforms abroad to block Islamic State recruits