A move to expand employment discrimination protections to gay workers is facing opposition – from a gay civil rights group.
The House and Senate are considering bills that would protect gays, lesbians and bisexuals from employment bias. The House version, which passed in November, is sponsored by openly gay Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts. Sen. Edward Kennedy, also from Massachusetts, is pushing the Senate to pass its version as well.
But members of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force oppose the bills because they do not include transgendered individuals in the protected category.
“Leaving transgender people out makes that a flawed movement,” member Roberta Sklar told The Associated Press. The group “strongly opposes” the bill, she said.
Kennedy said that it may take baby steps to cover everyone, but including transgendered workers in the current versions of the bill would jeopardize it for everyone. He said next year – particularly if a Democrat is in the White House – Congress can work to expand the law’s protections.
“The fact is that the House of Representatives has taken action,” Kennedy told The Associated Press. “The best opportunity for progress is … to follow along on the action of the House of Representatives, and then look down the road to a new day after we have a good Democratic Congress and a Democratic president.”
Frank, who was also criticized for not including transgendered individuals in his bill, also said he hopes to expand upon the law later.