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In the seventh round of the NFL draft on Saturday, the St. Louis Rams made history with their pick of defensive lineman Michael Sam. The pick was so monumental that it may even have an impact on Missouri law.
According to USA Today, it is currently legal in the state of Missouri to dismiss an employee for his or her sexual orientation. With Sam becoming the first openly gay athlete to be drafted into professional football, there may be hope for one House Bill 1930 that could bring change to the state.
If passed, the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act would call for protection of sexual orientation in the workplace, under the current Missouri Human Rights Statute. Though it was put before the House on March 13, it failed to go through.
St. Louis Business Journal reports that the head of the LGBT Community Center of Metropolitan St. Louis, Dara Strickland, spoke with the press on how the state’s current laws leave the door open for discrimination.
“You can apply for a job in Missouri at least, and there’s no protection for being asked, ‘By the way, are you gay?’ and being explicitly told, ‘You know, we don’t hire gay people,’” said Strickland. “You can be fired for being gay, lesbian or transgender.”
Strickland hopes that a good showing by Sam at the upcoming training camp will help boost HB 1930.