Bipartisan support boosts gay rights legislation
This past July, Hatch, Kirk and Lisa Murkowski backed the bill when the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, led by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, endorsed the measure 15-7.
"I think that this issue is not so much a Democrat-Republican issue, although more Democrats are for it of course, as it is an age issue," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "You'll find a lot of young people who are very conservative are much more pro-gay rights. There are some who would not support marriage but would support anti-discrimination. For those two reasons, I think we have a good chance of it passing."
Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have already approved laws banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 17 of those also prohibit employers from discriminating based on gender identity.
About 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies have already adopted nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, according to the Human Rights Campaign. About 57 percent of those companies include gender identity.
Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.