Reid discloses lesbian niece in call for equal rights bill

Sen. Harry Reid has disclosed he has a niece who is gay, calling it a personal reason he supports prohibiting workplace discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation.
“My niece is a lesbian,” Reid said Wednesday in an interview with liberal bloggers.  "She's a school teacher. Her employment shouldn't be affected with that. We should have a law that says that, not just the good graces of wherever you work."

Reid, who grew up with three brothers, did not identify his niece or provide other details, and neither did a spokeswoman who was queried on Thursday.   Reid, a Mormon, disclosed last year he was in favor of same-sex marriage, after voting against it earlier in his career.

The remark was reported by the Huffington Post as Reid discussed his support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act,  which has been introduced in most recent sessions of Congress but not gotten a vote since 2007, when it passed the House.

In September 1996, the bill failed in the Senate by one vote, 49-50.  Reid voted for it at the time, teling reporters this week he was asked to get behind it by one of the leaders of the pro-gay rights Human Rights Campaign,

Reid told the bloggers there wa a chance he might call for a Senate vote this year on the bill, whose current sponsor is Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.