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Washington Post Editorial Board SLAMS Obama Over Refusal of EO For LGBT Fed Contractor Employees

ENDAThis past Sunday the editorial board of the The Washington Post  which is regarded as one of the leading daily American newspapers and the most widely circulated newspaper published in Washington, D.C.   slammed  President Barack Obama for his refusal to sign an executive order protecting LGBT people employed by federal contractors  as “increasingly indefensible and inexplicable.” 

“The rejection of ENDA, a version of which was proposed as far back as the mid-1970s, has become something of a ritual: The act has been introduced in every Congress since 1994, save one.

President Obama could sign an executive order that would immediately protect gay and transgender employees of federal contractors from workplace discrimination.

Those contractors, which employ approximately 20 percent of the nation’s workforce, are currently prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion or sex, but aren’t subject to comparable provisions regarding sexual orientation or gender identity.

The order would not be unduly burdensome. After decades of urging by civil rights groups, more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies have adopted similar provisions of their own. Many contractors already abide without difficulty by these corporate codes protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. Besides, there’s considerable precedent for the White House mandating that those who do business with the federal government do it fairly and don’t discriminate against their employees in the process. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an order requiring that federal contractors adhere to principles of fair competition; in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson prohibited racial discrimination in contractors’ hiring processes.”

Recently White House Press Secretary Jay Carney that“the president is pursuing a path that he thinks has the best chance of success, which is trying to get Congress to pass ENDA, the legislative action that he supports.”  And here children is your laugh of the day.

While many consider President Obama to be the best pro-LGBT Presidents there has been, but remember that the bar isn’t set too high on that to begin with.  He himself has never taken a stand and CHALLENGED directly the LGBT communities status as second class citizens.  All his “fixes” to date have been workarounds of current laws that never directly challenged them . And his words of support are just that. WORDS.  We all need to realize and remember that we, the LGBT community have been responsible for the Matthew Shepard hate Crimes Bill passing, for DADT being repealed and for the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision that which will now result in bi-national couples having immigration rights and same sex federal marriage benefits.  NOT President Obama. (Remember the Democrats and Obama himself readily threw us under the bus to get some movement from the GOP on the immigration issue which now looks like it has a very slim chance to passing and as far as benefits all Obama really did is throw some minor crumbs with the DOMA workarounds) 

The bottom line is that President Obama can sign an Executive Order today that will protect 20% of the LGBT workforce while the all encompassing ENDA attempts, once again to work its way through Congress and tries to get passed.  EO’s like this have been signed before and there is Presidential precedent.  But President Obama refuses.  And that my friends is not only “increasingly indefensible and inexplicable.”  it is also cowardly, indefensible and unacceptable.

 

 

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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