Gay rights bill clears first hurdle in Senate
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A major gay rights bill has cleared its first hurdle in the Senate.
On a vote of 61-30, the Senate voted to move ahead on the legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The bipartisan vote increases the chances that the Senate will pass the bill by week's end, but its prospects in the Republican-led House are dimmer.
Speaker John Boehner remains opposed to the bill, arguing that it will lead to frivolous lawsuits and undercut job creation.
A vote would come 17 years after the Senate rejected a similar discrimination measure by one vote.
The Obama administration has said passage of the bill is long overdue.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk took to the U.S. Senate floor for the first time since suffering a stroke to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
The bill would prohibit workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
Seated at a desk, Kirk said it was especially important for an Illinois Republican to speak out for the legislation in the tradition of Everett Dirksen and Abraham Lincoln. Kirk hadn't taken the Senate floor since suffering a stroke in January 2012.
Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin. But it doesn't stop an employer from firing or refusing to hire workers because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.