Senators Shaheen, Collins, and Whitehouse Introduce Legislation to Protect LGBT Jurors
September 24, 2012 by David Stacy, Government Affairs Director
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have introduced bipartisan legislation to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in a fundamental part of American citizenship – serving on juries in federal court. The bill, the Jury Access for Capable Citizens and Equality in Service Selection (ACCESS) Act of 2012, prohibits attorneys from seeking to strike potential federal jurors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Unfortunately, such discrimination happens too often – denying LGBT people the opportunity to engage in public service and depriving litigants of the right to be judged by a jury representative of their community. In May, Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) introduced a similar bill, the Jury Non-Discrimination Act of 2012, in the House of Representatives.
As Senator Shaheen said upon introduction of the bill, “Discriminating against a potential juror because of sexual orientation or gender identity is unacceptable, and it should not be tolerated. Our country is founded on principles of inclusion and acceptance and the jury selection process should be no different.”
We thank Senators Shaheen, Collins, and Whitehouse for championing this issue in the Senate and their long-standing support for LGBT equality.