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Federal courts are divided over whether sexual orientation bias should be considered under Title VII, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

A health care specialist who has alleged his job offer was rescinded after his would-be employer learned he was gay should be allowed to bring a sexual orientation discrimination claim under federal civil rights laws, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission told an appeals court Wednesday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit heard arguments for 30 minutes in the case Mark Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management. Horton’s case is being closely watched as one of several that confront the scope of Title VII protections for gay and lesbian employees.

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