Rather than trying again to pass a law banning workplace discrimination, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley plans to introduce a broader measure in 2015 to outlaw discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations.
“Oregon and the nation are on a trajectory towards equality, and it is my goal to continue pushing this,” Merkley told reporters during a conference call Wednesday. “Surely the time has come to right this wrong.”
The bill, which Merkley hopes to introduce during the first half of 2015, would be similar to Oregon’s nondiscrimination law — which he shepherded through as Speaker of the House in 2007.
Merkley’s law would prohibit employers from refusing to hire someone on the basis of sexual orientation, but it would also prohibit lenders from refusing to give gay couples loans and restaurants or bakeries from refusing service to LGBT people.
Oregon is one of 21 states that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and it’s one of 18 states that includes a provision for gender identity. However, there is no federal LGBT nondiscrimination law.