House Bans Bias Against Gays at Work

Major civil rights measure now moves to Senate
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2007 10:14 PM CST
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., asks a question a committee's hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this July 18, 2007 file photo. Frank is a leading proponent of a federal ban on job discrimination...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – It took more than 30 years, but House Democrats today passed a bill banning workplace discrimination against homosexuals, the New York Times reports. Thirty-five Republicans joined 200 Democrats to pass the legislation, which would amend the Civil Rights Act and safeguard workers against discrimination because of their “actual or perceived sexual orientation.” Ted Kennedy says he will introduce it in the Senate.

Critics said the bill overstepped the federal government’s authority and would encourage unnecessary lawsuits. And some gay activists accused Nancy Pelosi of sacrificing rights for transsexual and transgendered individuals and granting broad exemptions to religious groups to get the measure approved. Still, proponents say it's the most important civil rights legislation since the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.