Herald-Leader Editorial

Two votes on the side of unfairness: Ky. senators try to stop anti-bias bill

November 7, 2013 

In a refreshing act of bipartisanship, seven Republicans in the U.S. Senate joined the Democratic majority Monday to advance the rights of millions of Americans.

The seven did not include either of Kentucky's senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.

Shame on them.

The vote was to overcome a filibuster and allow debate on a bill — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — to extend workplace nondiscrimination protections to people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual. The bill includes exemptions for religious institutions.

McConnell and Paul have tacked a national right-to-work law onto the bill for the final vote.

So, not happy with dissing gay workers alone, Kentucky's senators want to diminish the right of all workers to organize for workplace protections.

But the central issue is their pandering to an ever-diminishing constituency that wants to keep nonheterosexual people strictly in the closet.

Ironically, the day after the Senate vote, a committee of Lexington's Urban County Council voted unanimously to allow partner benefits for city employees, a benefit that already for Louisville's government workers, at the University of Kentucky and most major employers.

Indeed, gay rights are so widely accepted that many people think federal employment protection already exists for this group, as it does for others.

One of the Republicans who voted with the winning side, Susan Collins of Maine, said her constituents are often shocked to learn that federal law doesn't protect gay people in the workplace.

Even more shocking is that McConnell and Paul didn't even want this topic debated on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

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