Senate OKs Gay Rights Bill Banning Discrimination - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Senate OKs Gay Rights Bill Banning Discrimination

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The Senate has approved a bill outlawing workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
The vote reflected the nation's rapidly evolving attitude toward gay rights nearly two decades after Congress rejected same-sex marriage. The final tally was 64-32. 
Despite the bipartisan vote, the measure's chances in the House are dim. Speaker John Boehner calls the shots, and he opposes the bill.
Gay rights advocates hailed Senate passage as a major victory in a year of significant change. 
The Supreme Court in June affirmed gay marriage and granted federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. Illinois is on the verge of becoming the 15th state to legalize gay marriage along with the District of Columbia.

Both Nevada Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller support the legislation.

About 88% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, according to the Human Rights Campaign. About 57% of those companies include gender identity. (AP)

Statement by the President on Senate Passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013

For more than two centuries, the story of our nation has been the story of more citizens realizing the rights and freedoms that are our birthright as Americans.  Today, a bipartisan majority in the Senate took another important step in this journey by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would help end the injustice of our fellow Americans being denied a job or fired just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.  Just as no one in the United States can lose their job simply because of their race, gender, religion or a disability, no one should ever lose their job simply because of who they are or who they love.   

Today's victory is a tribute to all those who fought for this progress ever since a similar bill was introduced after the Stonewall riots more than three decades ago.  In particular, I thank Majority Leader Reid, Chairman Harkin, Senators Merkley and Collins for their leadership, and Senator Kirk for speaking so eloquently in support of this legislation.  Now it's up to the House of Representatives.  This bill has the overwhelming support of the American people, including a majority of Republican voters, as well as many corporations, small businesses and faith communities.  They recognize that our country will be more just and more prosperous when we harness the God-given talents of every individual.

One party in one house of Congress should not stand in the way of millions of Americans who want to go to work each day and simply be judged by the job they do.  Now is the time to end this kind of discrimination in the workplace, not enable it.  I urge the House Republican leadership to bring this bill to the floor for a vote and send it to my desk so I can sign it into law.  On that day, our nation will take another historic step toward fulfilling the founding ideals that define us as Americans.

U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) today voted in support of final passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

"Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. Nevadans have made a point to ensure that our state laws offer protections for individuals regardless of their lifestyle. This bill will help ensure those same protections to Americans across the country. It is a well-balanced and fair piece of legislation that I hope the House of Representatives will also take up and pass," said Senator Dean Heller after the vote.

ENDA prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.  Senator Heller also cosponsored an amendment introduced by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) that protects religious employers from retaliation by the government on the basis of adhering to their religious convictions. The amendment, which passed the Senate by voice vote yesterday, also clarifies that protecting religious freedom is a central purpose of ENDA.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada praises a United States Senate vote today, November 7, to pass the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The final vote was 64 to 32. Both of Nevada's Senators, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) voted to pass ENDA.

"Employees should be measured on their performance only and judged solely on their competence to carry out the job tasks for which they were hired. Judging an employee on their sexual orientation or gender identity is discriminatory and with the Senate vote on ENDA today, Nevada's Senators Reid and Heller recognize the importance of employee job performance, not the immutable traits of the employee.  Nevada has lead the nation with ENDA protections since 1999, and expanded those protections to include gender identity in 2011," said Tod Story, ACLU of Nevada Executive Director.

Representative Steven Horsford (NV-4) released the following statement after the Senate passed S. 815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA):
"I applaud Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for effectively moving ENDA forward, Senator Dean Heller for standing on the right side of history, and the other 62 Senators for voting to align workplace policies in our country with the underlying American Creed of equality.
"Employment and fair treatment in the workplace should be based on merit and hard work, not on who you love. The Senate passage of ENDA adds momentum to the movement to end second-class citizenship for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
"While Majority Leader in Nevada State Senate, I led the fight to pass legislation granting employment protections for all Nevadans, and it is time we have the same protections in federal law.
"Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner has signaled he will likely not bring this legislation up for a vote in the House. It is sad that some in Congress are so out of touch that they would obstruct the will of the majority of Americans who support these commonsense protections in federal law.
"It is time for Speaker Boehner to do the right thing and to allow this legislation, with bipartisan support, to advance in the House. Anything short of that would demonstrate Speaker Boehner's tacit acceptance of workplace discrimination, and that is unacceptable."


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