MONTPELIER, VT. - Today, members of the Vermont House of Representatives voted 118 to 28 to approve a bill extending existing anti-discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, public accommodations, housing, insurance and credit services.
"Republican and Democratic legislators in Vermont have taken an important action to advance the cause of equality for all Vermonters. Once this bill becomes law, transgender Vermonters will be more secure in the knowledge that they are equally protected from discrimination under state law," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
The bill had significant bipartisan support, with 22 Republicans voting in favor of the legislation. The Senate previously voted 27 to 1 to approve an earlier version of the bill. Since there are differences between the House and Senate versions of the proposed legislation, the bill will now go to conference committee before being sent to Gov. Jim Douglas.
If the bill becomes law, Vermont would become the 11th U.S. state to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Currently, workplace protection laws exist in California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Washington state.
Vermont is the third state, along with Oregon and Iowa, to pass such legislation this year. In 1991, Vermont amended its anti-discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
"We applaud the impressive majority of legislators who voted for fairness and equality, including Republican Senator Diane Snelling and Democratic Representative Bill Lippert, who sponsored the legislation, as well as all the HRC members in Vermont who worked hard to pass this important legislation," added Solmonese.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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