Republican Sen. Rob Portman is lending qualified support to a bill that would ban firing or otherwise penalizing employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Portman, whose son is gay, is among a small number of Republicans to sound a supportive note on the measure.
"I don't think any of my constituents should be able to be fired because he or she is gay," he said in a conference call with reporters. "And that's one reason that I have been involved in this issue in trying to end up with a result where we can have that principle enshrined into law. I think people should be judged on their job performance and their merits, not on what their sexual orientation is."
But Portman says he'd still like to see changes made to how the bill offers exemptions to religious organizations. He declined to elaborate on those changes, but said people should have religious freedoms protected.