The St. Louis Rams’ decision to draft openly gay football player Michael Sam could help advance Missouri legislation that would include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics under state law. So says Dara Strickland, an employment law attorney and president of the LGBT Community Center of Metropolitan St. Louis.
The bill, H.B. 1930, would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals from discrimination in the workplace. It has been bottled up in committee since March. However, Strickland believes the Rams’ selection of Sam—he’s the first player who has come out as gay to be drafted by an NFL team—will spur discussion of anti-gay bias in Missouri, which she says could lead to eventual passage.