Lawmakers have introduced a draft law that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
An inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), whose lead sponsors include Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank and IIeana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
"Employment should be based on who is the most qualified person for the job, and not on the personal prejudices of those who are doing the hiring," says Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
"LGBT Americans, like their straight co-workers, go to work each day to contribute to their communities, support their families and keep our economy running," he adds.
Among the opponents of the measure are Southern Baptists, who have expressed concern the proposed law could threaten Christian organizations from hiring in accordance with their religious beliefs, according to Christian Post.
Current federal law provides legal protection against employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability, but not sexual orientation or gender identity.
Windy City Times reports that in 30 states it is still legal to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation, and in 38 states it is legal to fire someone for being transgender.