LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A bill that would bar Nebraska employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity has stalled in the Legislature.

Lawmakers on Monday fell seven votes short of the support needed to overcome a filibuster and bring the bill to a vote. Senators voted 26-22 to end debate on the legislation; they needed 33.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says 20 other states and the District of Columbia already ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Included in those states are neighboring Iowa and Colorado.

Sen. Danielle Conrad of Lincoln says she sponsored the proposal to protect workers from being fired because of their sexual preferences.

Opponents argue that the bill could have violated the religious beliefs of businesses that oppose gay relationships.