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Heller Supports Gay Rights Bill

Republican Senator's Announcement Ahead Of Crucial Vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller is backing a bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Heller announced his support for the measure on Monday morning, just hours before a critical vote in the Senate. The senator said in a statement on his website that supporting the bill is the right thing to do and discrimination must not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Heller’s support gives proponents the 60 votes necessary to move ahead on the legislation. All 55 members of the Democratic majority back the bill, as do Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Update: Late Monday afternoon, the Senate voted to overcome a filibuster and move the vote along. Leaders indicate they hope to have the matter passed later this week, although House Speaker John Boehner says he disapproves of the workplace measure. Its fate in the House now appears bleak.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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