Gay Rights Supporters Push Anti-Bias Bill

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Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., both openly gay, are pushing a bill in Congress that will give gays and transsexuals federal protections from bias in the workplace. 

According to Frank, opponents of the legislation frequently accuse the gay rights proponents of pushing a "radical agenda." 

"Trying to get a job or join the military has not been the hallmark of radicalism," Frank told the House Education and Labor Committee.

The military along with religious groups and businesses with fewer than 15 employees would be exempt under the proposed law.

But opponents warn the bill's language is too murky and could lead to an explosion in lawsuits. 

"It does not take a legal scholar to recognize that such vaguely defined protections will lead to an explosion in litigation and inconsistent judicial decisions," said Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the committee's top Republican. 

Craig Parshall, the general counsel for the National Religious Broadcasters, opposes the bill. He warned that it would subject religious groups to "a crazy quilt" of inconsistent court rulings and put a 'chilling pall" over their activities.

He also said for-profit faith-based groups, such as Christian radio stations, would be denied any exemption at all from the measure. 

Employment discrimination based on sexual preference is already banned in 21 states and 12 states also forbid discrimination based on gender identity.

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