The highest league of professional baseball in the country has adopted a non-discrimination policy on the basis sexual orientation as part of its collective bargaining agreement with employees.
Major League Baseball and and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association jointly unveiled the amended five-year agreement Tuesday after the development was first reported by the New York Daily News.
The policy amends the Article XV of the expiring agreement, which already contained protections based on “race, color, religion or national origin,” to include protections based on sexual orientation.
The summary of the agreement states, “Non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation were added to Article XV.”
According to the New York Daily News, Michael Weiner, the union’s executive director, said the decision wasn’t motivated by requests from his membership, but by “lawyers on both sides just recognizing that it should be there.”
Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, praised the development and said it would help players who decide to come out as gay.
“In a majority of states in our country, it is still perfectly legal to fire someone just for being gay, and 13 of the 30 Major League teams are located in those states that allow anti-gay firings,” Almeida said. “No player should have to fear harassment or workplace retaliation if he were to publicly come out as gay.”
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According to Freedom to Work, multiple teams within Major League Baseball are based in states that allow anti-gay firings, harassment and other forms of discrimination.
In the American League, these teams are the Ohio-based Cleveland Indians, the Michigan-based Detroit Tigers, the Missouri-based Kansas City Royals, the Florida-based Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers.
In the the National League, these teams are the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Atlanta Braves, the Cincinnati Reds, the Florida/Miami Marlins, the Houston Astros, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals.