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Jared Kushner finally granted his security clearance. Also on our nationwide rundown: a new lawsuit seeks the release of a gay man from ICE Detention in Pennsylvania; and protecting an Arizona water source for millions near Phoenix.

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LGBT Lobby Day in MO: Progress Made Slowly

March 22, 2010

JEFFERSON CITy, Mo. - As advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) issues gear up for Lobby Day at the State Capitol on Wednesday, they celebrate a small victory, as a House committee holds its first hearing on the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act today. That hasn't happened with similar bills in previous legislative sessions. The measure is meant to protect Missourians from being discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, by employers and landlords, among others.

The Reverend Charlie Bahn, pastor of Brentwood Christian Church in Springfield, says it's an opportunity to talk with lawmakers about such issues as workplace discrimination.

"It is empowering for these people, who feel like they're a voice in the wilderness, to come together with others from all around the state, and realize that they're not alone and that little by little we are making a difference. "

Rev. Bahn says a Safe Schools Act is another important piece of legislation they'll discuss with lawmakers. He says previous laws aimed at bullying haven't gone far enough.

"It really lacks teeth because it doesn't enumerate specific categories, and so there's a lot of this bullying and harassment that's continuing."

The Missouri Non-Discrimination Act does not require quotas or affirmative action and would not apply to businesses with fewer than six employees. Opponents say it would infringe on some employers' religious beliefs, but advocates point out that it also does not apply to religious institutions.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO