Shaheen bill would prevent sexual orientation discrimination on juries

“Discriminating against a potential juror because of sexual orientation or gender identity is unacceptable, and it should not be tolerated,” Shaheen said in a statement Monday. “Our country is founded on principles of inclusion and acceptance and the jury selection process should be no different.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) are co-sponsoring the bill.

“The jury box is intended to protect the rights of all Americans by providing a defendant with a fair hearing from a cross-section of the whole community, without discrimination,” said Whitehouse. “This legislation will help ensure that LGBT Americans are fairly represented on juries.”

Currently, the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin and economic status. However, there is no federal ban on discriminating against jurors based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Jury service is an important public service,” Collins said. “Our bill would prohibit potential jurors from being dismissed for service in federal trials based solely on sexual orientation or gender identity.”