On an issue that Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said is merely “common sense,” debates in the Senate over extending antidiscrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity became very real Monday.
In a 61-30 vote, Nevada’s own republican senator Dean Heller was one of seven republican seats to cross party lines in favor of the bill.
“Nevada has established a solid foundation of anti-discrimination laws,” Heller said in a statement Monday morning. “This legislation raises the federal standards to match what we have come to expect in Nevada, which is that discrimination must not be tolerated under any circumstance.”
At a state level, Nevada already has laws that ban discrimination from employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identification. This law, however, is not extended to the nation, where only 21 states and the District of Columbia uphold these standards.
While Nevada is a historically swing state, much of the state has increased its awareness of tolerance on all levels. In the Reno area, with a prominent LGBT scene and projects such as Build Our Center advocating for safe and informative community places for those in said community, it is not unusual to know, work with or befriend an individual who could classify themself as transgender.
However, with the majority of the House being republican ruled, Speaker of the House John Boehner has been quoted as saying that not only will this bill not pass the House, but that it would hinder the country should it do so.
“(It) will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,” Boehner said on Monday to The New York Times.
In a state that has the highest percentage of unemployed people in the country, the last thing that would hinder the economy is opening up more employment possibilities to those that are perfectly employable. And in a country whose power has been decreasing gradually over the first part of the 21st century, we should really not discriminate against anything that could potentially disrupt our social structure even further.
We used to be a hegemon — many people would argue that we still are. However, with the current national debt sitting at over $17 trillion (that is 12 zeros), is it really prudent to worry about something that could potentially “increase frivolous litigation?” There are lots of things that could potentially do that, why zero in on only one?
As much as politics and politicians should and attempt to remain in an unbiased sector of thought, it’s apparent when moral interest is at play and isn’t. It is just as likely that extending a law to include transgenders and homosexuals will hinder the free market as it as that expanding the list of which religious groups would be exempt from following that law will — a measure the House intends to push if and when the bill passes through.
Then you have politicians like Heller, who — coming from a state where the good ol’ boys system is alive and well — surprisingly stood by six other members of congress and defied what it really means to be a republican or a democrat.
They rather reminded us that we are all human beings.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Heller said in a statement.
Here, here, Sen. Heller. The Nevada Sagebrush thanks you.
The Nevada Sagebrush editorial staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.