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Mo. governor Jay Nixon calls for workplace protections for gay workers

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
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Jay Nixon

Jeff Roberson, AP
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon delivers the annual State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Jefferson City, Mo.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called on the state’s Republican-led Legislature to pass legislation to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Many Democrats applauded Nixon for including the proposal among his priorities outlined in the State of the State address Tuesday night.

“We need to end discrimination against LGBT Missourians in the workplace. No Missourian should be fired because of who they are or who they love,” said Nixon. “Last year, the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act passed the Senate with bipartisan support, but failed to get to my desk. Let¹s get that done this year.”

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But the measure’s chances of passing are unclear. Some Republicans expressed caution Wednesday and criticized Nixon, a Democrat, for championing the proposal while ignoring other policy initiatives.

Current state law prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex and disability.

Legislation to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation passed the Senate on the last day of session last year, but never received a House vote.

At least one House member – Anne Zerr, of St. Charles – said she was glad Nixon pushed for the measure in his speech.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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