When Brokeback Mountain star Heath Ledger passed away, Marty Edwards said a co-worker at First National Bank of Granbury asked who Ledger was. “He was some faggot in a gay cowboy movie,” a senior loan officer answered. “Who cares if he died.” When Edwards, who’s gay, was later passed over for a promotion, he talked to a human resources representative and an executive vice president. “They said it was not my work because I did a great job,” Edwards said. “I was told that one guy who has three kids, a wife and white picket fence home was a better fit for the image we are looking for.” After years of enduring an increasingly hostile work environment, Edwards was fired in September. He is convinced it was because of his sexual orientation. But in Texas, attorneys say there’s nothing he can do about it. Texas is one of 29 states that lacks employment protections for gays, while 34 states don’t protect transgender workers. The federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban anti-LGBT job discrimination, remains stalled in Congress. While some cities in Texas prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination, their ordinances lack teeth because there is no state or federal law to back them up.
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