Senate Votes to Debate LGBT Workplace Discrimination Bill
Written by Jared Pelletier
Last updated on November 06, 2013 @ 8:58AM
Created on November 04, 2013 @ 6:40PM
Monday was a big day for many supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights.
Senators on Capitol Hill voted in favor of debating a bill that would outlaw discrimination against sexual preference in the workplace.
It's legal to fire someone for their sexual orientation in 28 states including West Virginia.
The bill is known as the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. West Virginia Democratic Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin both support the idea. All of the Senate Democrats voted in favor of beginning the debate along with a few Republicans.
The proposed bill would have an exemption for religious organizations. It seems likely it would pass in the Senate, but it's future in the House of Representatives is far from clear.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner opposes the bill and said he doesn't plan on bringing it up for a vote. Political experts are saying even though the law has quite a way to go before it gets approved it still has historical significance.
Dr. Scott Crichlow is a Political Science professor at WVU. He said, "Having a federal law would protect these people from being fired is the basic thing this law would do. It would treat that kind of firing illegally the same way it would treat being fired for your religion, race, status as a veteran, etc."
LGBT equal rights are a hot topic issue across the country and in the Mountain State. Some people who are opposed to gay marriage and some who support it said there's no room in the workplace for discrimination.
Margaret Hower lives in Morgantown. She said, "If Christ loved and didn't judge everyone, then as a religious person and as disciples of him we should reflect that Christ like love that he had."
Morgantown resident Jake Springer said, "It's fair. It's basically human rights across the board. You can't discriminate against anyone for their race or anything like that so I feel like it's almost in the same category. It's kind of a long time coming in my opinion."
A vote on the bill could take place in the Senate at some point this week.
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