Bill would ban discrimination against LGTBQ jurors

June 20, 2021 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Discrimination would be prohibited against jurors in federal courts on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity under a bill reintroduced by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Susan Collins of Maine.

“It’s a stain on our judicial system that federal law doesn’t protect LGBT jurors from discrimination,” Shaheen, a Democrat, said in a statement Friday. “I’m committed to righting this wrong and ensuring our judicial process is free from prejudice so our nation can fulfill the values it espouses.”

Collins, a Republican, said serving on a jury “is a fundamental right and obligation that no individuals should be prohibited from fulfilling based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The United States Code currently prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin and economic status. Eleven states prohibit exclusion from jury service in state court based on sexual orientation; eight protect against discrimination based on gender identity.

Cosponsors of the bill include Democratic U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.