Feinstein introduces antibias bill

BY Advocate.com Editors

March 11 2003 1:00 AM ET

U.S. senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced a resolution that would prohibit Senate offices from discriminating against gay men and lesbians in hiring, Roll Call reports. The bill would alter the Senate's Standing Rules to add the classification of sexual orientation to the list of factors that may not be considered during hiring. The California Democrat made a similar proposal last year, but it never made it past the committee level.

"I introduced this resolution because it is the right thing to do," Feinstein said. "These things have been difficult to get approved in the past, and I anticipate it will be difficult this time as well. I think it is important to be on the record opposed to discrimination based on sexual orientation."

The bill already has 31 cosponsors, with Oregon senator Gordon Smith the only Republican. But Roll Call suggests that the measure has a poor chance of passing since traditionally antigay senator Trent Lott chairs the Rules and Administration Committee, which the bill must pass before reaching the full Senate.

"Democrats understand that employment discrimination is a reality," said Dave Noble, executive director for the National Stonewall Democrats. "By addressing antigay discrimination within the halls of Congress, this resolution moves the entire Senate closer to passing employment laws that promote equality for all American workers."

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