In a vote that has been 17 years in the making, the United States Senate passed an anti-discrimination law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. This gives employee rights to gay, lesbians, bisexual and transgender individuals for the first time. The vote passed 34 to 32, with 10 Republicans joining with Democrats on the measure.
Many people already thought such a measure for protection was already in place, so Harry Reid of Nevada is calling on the House of Representatives to bring the bill to the floor and pass it. However, the Speaker has been vehemently opposed to the bill and it is unknown whether he will allow the vote or not.
Those who are opposed to the law have been relatively quiet in their opposition. The objections are mainly religiously based; some feel religious freedoms are at risk even with the large exemptions that are included in the bill that protect religious institutions. The bill has been modified in an attempt to mollify some Republicans, including a provision that states cannot retaliate against religious institutions that decline to comply with the law. In other words, their tax-exempt status is safe, as is their grant money, certifications and licenses.
Churches, mosques and synagogues are exempt from the law, as are religiously-affiliated schools and stores. Only those establishments that do not have a solidly religious base will have to abide by the law.
No one should have to endure discrimination in the workplace. For anyone who feels they are not being treated fairly or in a respectful manner, speaking to a legal representative about the issue can help a person decide if some sort of legal action should pursued. Legal professionals experienced in the area of workplace discrimination can explain the process and help a person make an informed decision.
New York Times, “Senate Approves Ban on Antigay Bias in Workplace” Jeremy W. Peters, Nov. 07, 2013