Clinton Endorses Bill Barring Anti-Gay Bias Workplace Discrimination Wrong, President Says
President Clinton announced his support Friday for legislation that would bar most job discrimination against homosexuals. “This is wrong,” he said of such bias, becoming the first president to endorse a bill on the politically charged issue.
“Individuals should not be denied a job on the basis of something that has no relationship to their ability to perform their work,” said Clinton in a letter to Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., a sponsor of the measure.
The endorsement is part of a continuing effort by Clinton to end discrimination against homosexuals, presidential adviser George Stephanopoulos said later to the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
Stephanopoulos said the administration had “brought gay and lesbian issues out of the closet and into the open.”
The proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act, sponsored by Sens. Kennedy and James Jeffords, R-Vt., and Rep. Gerry Studds, D-Mass., would prohibit job discrimination, quotas or preferential treatment on the basis of sexual orientation.
Approval of the bill seems unlikely in the Republican-controlled Congress, but the president’s announcement was received enthusiastically by its supporters there.
Twenty-nine senators are co-sponsoring the Senate bill and over 100 House members are backing the House version.
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