Bill seeks to end sexual orientation discrimination
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Bill seeks to end sexual orientation discrimination

Date: February 25, 2009
By: Theo Keith
State Capitol Bureau
Links: SB 109

Intro: A legislative committee was urged Wednesday to include gays and lesbians in the state's anti-discrimination laws.

Theo Keith has more from the State Capitol. 

RunTime:0:45
OutCue: SOC

Supporters told the Senate Progress Committee the measure makes everyone equal, whereas others have economic reasons for supporting it.

Pulaski Bank CEO, Bill Donius (DON-E-us) is openly gay.

He says the bank adopted a non-discrimination policy and business grew 800 percent.

Actuality:  DONIUS.WAV
Run Time: 00:09
Description: When employees feel welcome, when they feel at home, when they feel like family, when they're treated like family, they do go the extra distance to make a difference.


Donius says Pulaski Bank was named the top place to work in St. Louis two years ago.

The committee heard opposition saying the measure would lead to lawsuits claiming employees were fired because of sexual orientation, when it was in fact work-related.

The committee didn't take any action on the bill.

From the State Capitol, I'm Theo Keith.


Intro: A representative of one of the state's major labor organizations urged legislators to include gays and lesbians in the state's anti-discrimination law.

Theo Keith has more from Jefferson City. 

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OutCue: SOC

Ben Harman says he spoke on behalf of the president of a St. Louis chapter of the United Auto Workers.

He told the Senate Progress Committee that the unemployment rate is too high to fire employees based on sexual orientation.

Actuality:  HARMAN.WAV
Run Time: 00:12
Description: With 7.3 percent of our citizens looking for work, these are desperate times for all working people. But for Missourians, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters, they face a double whammy.


Harman says businesses should focus on the quality of an employee's work, not their sexual preferences.

The committee heard opposition to the measure, saying employees would falsely claim they were fired because of their sexual orientation.

The committee didn't take any action on the bill.

From the State Capitol, I'm Theo Keith.


Intro: A religious right-winger urged lawmakers to reject a proposal that would law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation will be abused.

Theo Keith has more from Jefferson City. 

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OutCue: SOC

The bill would provide civil rights protections for gays and lesbians.

Opponents spoke to the Senate Progress Committee saying fired employees would claim discrimination.

Missouri Family Network President Kerry Messer says employers will see more lawsuits.

Actuality:  MESSER.WAV
Run Time: 00:08
Description: They proclaim a sexual orientation was the basis of their firing or of their mistreatment, and you can't prove a negative.

Bill supporters say it makes Missourians equal, while others say employers who don't discriminate have happier employees.

The committee didn't take any action on the bill.

From the State Capitol, I'm Theo Keith.