Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Illinois Joins the Ranks of States Prohibiting Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Although both sides had predicted victory, both houses of the Illinois legislature have now passed, S.B. 3186, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which it defines as meaning:
actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or gender-related identity, whether or not traditionally associated with the person's designated sex at birth. "Sexual orientation" does not include a physical or sexual attraction to a minor by an adult.
The St. Louis Dispatch story, House Passes Gay-Rights Measure, has the details of the final legislative hurdle. As reported in the Southern Illinoisan story, Governor Vows to Sign Gay Rights Legislation, the Governor's signature will be forthcoming :
This truly is a landmark day in Illinois. This legislation sends a clear message that we will not allow our citizens to be discriminated against. I look forward to signing this bill.
Absent a successful court challenge (which has been promised), Illinois will become the 14th state (plus the District of Columbia)to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation on the effective date of the legislation, July 1, 2005.

A similar bill has been introduced for this session of the Texas legislature, see my post on H.B. 143 here, but the chances of Texas becoming the 15th state to ban sexual orientation discrimination strike me as remote, at best.

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