In a 19-11 vote, the Senate in Missouri passed a bill making discrimination against gays and lesbians illegal. Democrat Jolie Justus, the first Missouri Senate member who publicly affirmed her homosexuality, had tried six time prior to get the bill passed.

Missouri residents can be fired if they are gay and can even get thrown out of their housing if others believe they are gay. Justus’ bill would protect gays and lesbians against workplace discrimination; however, even though the bill was sent hurriedly to the House, they dawdled until their 6 p.m. adjournment. Justus and many other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals still believe the advance to be a success as this is the first time the bill was passed in the Senate after seven years. Justis believes her bill advanced because she packaged it with another anti-discrimination measure that some business groups were seeking: requiring workers to prove that their dismissals were caused by motivating factors as opposed to contributing factors.

The advancement of Justus’ bill is a move in the right direction as far as workplace discrimination in Missouri is concerned. Although Missouri lags behind certain states, such as New York, in employment discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, the fact that this bill passed the Senate for the first time brings it closer to being passed in the House.

Workplace discrimination can be stressful, and it should not be ignored. Unfortunately, many people do not know their rights and either put up with the discrimination or endure dismissal. However, it does not have to be that way those affected always have the right to discuss any employment discrimination issues they believe they might have with an attorney.

Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch, “Senate advances gay rights bill for first time ever“, Virginia Young, May 17, 2013