U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) today was among a group of four senators to introduce the latest version
of a bill that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The freshman Democrat announced today he is a sponsor — along with Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (both R-Maine) — of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The measure's anti-discrimination provisions already exist for race, religion, gender, national origin, age, and disability. And the extension of those provisions to sexual orientation and gender identity has long been a priority for gay rights groups
, who are optimistic that large Democratic majorities in Congress as well as a Democrat in the White House gives this bill a good chance of success.
The four senators backing this measure have 34 co-sponsors including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). But the only two Republicans on that overall list of 38 are Collins and Snowe.