Today will mark the first time we report to the full Senate a bill that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We still have a long way to go, but our country is a far better place because of laws barring discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, religion, age and disability, among others. It is time, at long last, also to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Such discrimination is wrong and cannot be tolerated. And, the week before last, the Supreme Court recognized the fundamental rights of married same-sex couples. Yet, despite this progress, under federal law, it is still entirely legal to fire, refuse to hire, or otherwise discriminate against a citizen based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Tom Harkin - Wikipedia
Peter Pace, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, caused a stir at a Senate hearing Wednesday when he said he believes homosexual activity is immoral and should not be condoned by the military. Outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Pace, who retires next week, said he was seeking to clarify similar remarks he made in spring, which he said were misreported. Yes," he told the Senate Appropriations Committee during a hearing focused on the Pentagon's war spending request. Anti-war protesters sitting behind Pace jeered the four-star general's remarks, prompting Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W. The hearing resumed about five minutes later in which Pace said he would be supportive of efforts to revisit the Pentagon's policy so long as it didn't violate his belief that sex should be restricted to a married heterosexual couple.
Senator Tom Harkin Calls On Obama To Sign Anti-Discrimination Order
The procedural vote does not necessarily predict the final outcome, expected later this week. A nation that has stood behind the belief that people should be judged on their individual worth, not the color of their skin, race or religion, he said, should also bar discrimination based on "who you love. Even if the Senate passes the legislation, however, it faces uncertain prospects in the Republican-led House.
The bill that would prohibit workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans could win Senate passage by week's end, but its prospects in the Republican-majority House are dimmer. A stark reminder of the nation's changing views, lingering resistance to homosexuality and the political implications resonated in Maine, as six-term Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud, who is running for governor, said he was gay and questioned whether it still mattered to voters. Hours before Monday's vote, President Barack Obama issued a fresh plea for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the first significant gay rights bill since Congress lifted the ban on gays serving openly in the military nearly three years ago. All 55 members of the Democratic majority and at least five Republicans were expected to vote to proceed with the bill, giving Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.