Updated on March 18, 2019 at 4:15 p.m.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is the only Democratic senator who did not co-sponsor an LGBT anti-discrimination bill.
The Register-Herald reports 44 Democratic U.S. senators and the two independent senators that caucus with them have signed onto Senate bill 788. The bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon would add LGBT protections to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Manchin did not sponsor a similar proposal in 2017. A spokeswoman for his office declined to comment to the newspaper.
West Virginia’s other U.S. senator is Republican Shelley Moore Capito. She also did not co-sponsor the bill.
West Virginia ACLU Executive Director Joseph Cohen said he was “sorely disappointed” that neither of the state’s U.S. Senators endorsed the proposal.
Manchin later released a statement Monday afternoon on the Equality Act:
"I strongly support equality for all people and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. No one should be afraid of losing their job or losing their housing because of their sexual orientation. After speaking with local education officials in West Virginia, I am not convinced that the Equality Act as written provides sufficient guidance to the local officials who will be responsible for implementing it, particularly with respect to students transitioning between genders in public schools. I will continue working with the sponsors of the bill to build broad bipartisan support and find a viable path forward for these critical protections so that I can vote in support of this bill.”