Senate OKs gay rights bill banning discrimination - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Senate OKs gay rights bill banning discrimination

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- The U.S. Senate made a historic vote Thursday on a bill to outlaw workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

The Senate passed the gay rights bill with bipartisan support. The final tally was 64 to 32.
Currently, federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin, but it doesn't stop employers from firing or refusing to hire workers because of their sexual orientation.

"For folks like myself in the LGBT community, the opportunity to be judged in the workplace by your skills and qualifications, your loyalty, your work ethic is an important pronouncement for this nation," Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin said.

Baldwin is the first openly gay U.S. senator. She, along with gay rights groups hailed Thursday's vote as a big step for the nation and a major victory in a year of significant change.

Despite the bipartisan vote though, the measure's chances in the House are slim. Speaker John Boehner opposes the bill. In a statement, Boehner's spokesman said the Speaker believes it will "increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs."
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