President Barack Obama will sign an order banning federal government contractors from discriminating against gay and transgender workers, officials have said.
The executive order follows years of requests and pressure from the LGBT community to act at least partially on LGBT equality rights that have been stalled on Capitol Hill since the 1970’s.
The executive order comes after far broader anti-discrimination legislation ENDA has stalled in the Republican-led House of Representatives depsite that it containing a hugely dangerous religious exemption that has caused many in the LGBT community stand up and speak out against rendition of ENDA and who have called for current version of the bill to be pulled.
We’re thrilled that the White House is finally taking action on LGBT workplace discrimination — action that is long overdue, but that will finally begin to address the enormous hurdles that LGBT individuals face in finding and keeping a job in this country,” said GetEQUAL Co-Director Heather Cronk. “It is now vitally important for all of us to insist that this executive order, when eventually signed by the president, does not include religious exemptions that would permit taxpayer dollars to be spent on discrimination. We will continue to be vigilant about this important aspect of the executive order — LGBT Americans need these protections immediately, and without the gaping holes that exemptions would create.”
The executive order will apply only to federal contractors, which employ nearly one-quarter of the US workforce.
“The action would build upon existing protections, which generally prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,”
One of the largest companies that will be impacted and holds million of dollars in federal contracts by the executive order is Exxon Mobil, which last month voted down LGBT employment protections for the 17th time. The company claims to have a “zero tolerance” policy on the books for mistreatment, but that does not have the same legal force or consistency as the protections shareholders have voted down each year. Exxon is also facing an anti-gay discrimination lawsuit
President Obama still prefers that Congress act, administration officials said, and has only decided to take unilateral steps in the absence of momentum for the legislation
There is currently no word on when Mr Obama plans to sign the order, but a White House official told US media the president has finally asked his staff to prepare the action for his signature.