In a call with reporters Friday, July 18, White House officials announced that President Barack Obama will sign executive orders Monday, July 21 making it illegal for federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT workers, the Washington Blade has reported.
In a statement, national Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said, “With the strokes of a pen, the President will have a very real and immediate impact on the lives of millions of LGBT people across the country. Each and every American worker should be judged based on the work they do, and never because of a fundamental aspect of who they are – like their sexual orientation or gender identity.” The action helps “send a powerful message to future administrations and to Congress that anti-LGBT discrimination must not be tolerated.”
Griffin also called on Congress “to immediately pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” which would ban employers across the country from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Many states still allow companies to fire people based on those factors. LGBT organizations that once supported the non-discrimination legislation have turned against it since an exemption was added that would allow employers to use their religious beliefs to discriminate against LGBT employees.
The Blade reported Obama’s action Monday “won’t repeal President George W. Bush’s amendment” to Executive Order 11246, “which allows religious-affiliated federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion. … Still, no further exemption for religious entities will be included in the executive order.”
In a news release from the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights, Kate Kendell, the group’s executive director, said, “We are elated at the announcement by the White House that on Monday the President will sign an Executive Order barring discrimination in employment by federal contractors. For far too long, LGBT employees have been subject to open bigotry and negative job actions based on factors that have nothing to do with our ability to do the job. We are confident the President’s leadership on this issue will soon lead us to a day where all LGBT employees are protected from rank discrimination on the job.”