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Nov 4, 2013 10:52 AM by Associated Press

Nevada GOP senator backs gay rights bill

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.

Senate leaders hope to complete work on the bill by week's end.

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