Bill to outlaw gay discrimination in the workplace gaining support

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November 5, 2013, 6:29 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Tracie Potts) - There’s a bill moving through Congress that would outlaw discrimination in the workplace against gay and lesbian employees.

It's been called the most significant gay rights legislation since lifting the ban on gays in the military.

It looks like there's enough support for it to pass the Senate, but it's not clear if it'll even come up for vote in the House.

Tippi McCollough's been waiting for a law like this.

The Catholic school teacher was fired for breaking her morality clause, after she married her partner of 14 years.

She said, "I certainly make my share of mistakes. I've made mistakes with, you know, in many ways but I've certainly tried to live what I would describe as a moral life."

President Obama said Monday night the Employment Non-Discrimination Act doesn't just protect the minority.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "This is about upholding America's core values of fairness and equality."

With seven Republicans on board, the Senate voted to open debate.

Senator Susan Collins said, "People should be judged on their qualifications and work, not their sexual orientation."

Tammy Baldwin is the only openly gay senator.

Baldwin said, "If you've ever been discriminated against, seeking employment or seeking an advancement, it's bitter, and it's been a long, long fight but I think its day has come."

The bill faces uncertainty in the House. Republicans are concerned it may encourage frivolous lawsuits.

Speaker John Boehner has indicated he may not even bring it up for a vote.

If this fails, the White House hasn't ruled out preventing discrimination by executive order, but that would only affect federal contractors.

Tags: barack Obama, gay, lesbian, employees, discrimination, workplace, Employment Non-Discrimination Act
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