The measure, S. 1284, would bar employers from hiring or firing or making promotion or compensation decisions based on sexual orientation – with exemptions for religious organizations, small businesses, the military and nonprofit, voluntary groups such as the Boy Scouts, according to Reuters.
A version of the Senate bill was introduced first in 1975. Kennedy’s plan failed in the Senate in 1996 on a 50-49 vote. Representative Christopher Shays (R-Connecticut) has a similar bill with 190 supporters signed up. At present 43 of 100 members have signaled their support for the bill.
Modifications to the bill have been made to help woo the business community, such as:
- no longer requiring employers to create affirmative action programs if they are found to have discriminated against homosexuals
- prohibiting preferential treatment and the use of quotas
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