The bill, which has been floating around Congress since 1994, seeks to prevent employers from firing or denying a job or promotion to any candidate for employment because of their sexual orientation.
Advocates believe that the struggling economy and Democratic majority in Congress make this the perfect time to pass the bill.
"I think it's particularly poignant that this comes at a time when the nation is facing such a crisis in unemployment," Rea Carey, executive director of the national Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told the Republic. "Each day that a job is lost because of prejudice compounds the problem."
Though the language in the Congressional bill would not require employers to extend benefits to a gay employee's significant other, Washington State's "everything but marriage law" would require that companies provide benefits to their employees' registered domestic partners.