Campaigners say White House move ‘will begin to undo one of the last vestiges of legally sanctioned discrimination.’
By Lauren McCauley / Common Dreams
In what is being hailed as a major victory for LGBTQ rights, the White House confirmed on Monday that President Obama is going to issue an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity with taxpayer funds by all federal contractors will begin to undo one of the last vestiges of legally sanctioned discrimination,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, who called the news “historic.”
According to a White House official who spoke to the Huffington Post, the president has “directed his staff to draft an executive order” banning workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of federal contractors.
However, it was not said when the president was going to sign the order into law.
According to the unnamed official, the executive order will “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.”
The rights group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said that the forthcoming order is the “culmination of six years of advocacy” on the part of human and civil rights campaigners.
Thus far, efforts to pass legislation barring workplace discrimination have stalled in Congress. Though passing the Senate last November, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)— which would affect all employers nationwide—has not yet come up for vote in the House.
“By issuing an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people, the President will not only create fairer workplaces across the country, he will demonstrate to Congress that adopting federal employment protections for LGBT people is good policy and good for business,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. Griffin added that the White House statement is “promising,” saying that advocates “look forward to seeing the details of the executive order.”