Main | Monday, June 16, 2014

BREAKING: President Obama To Sign Executive Order Protecting LGBT Employees Of Federal Contractors

The National Lesbian & Gay Task Force is first with the news that President Obama will sign an executive order forbidding anti-LGBT discrimination by employers who have contracts with the federal government. Via press release:
“This is a major step forward in the struggle for freedom and justice for LGBTQ workers and their families. Now millions of people will have the economic security they need to provide for their families. Through his actions, the President has demonstrated again his commitment to ending discrimination. We thank all the organizations who have worked so hard to make this piece of history. This decision is good for LGBTQ people, good for our economy and good for America. Unfortunately, many of us who don't work for federal contractors will still lack workplace protections. Now we must redouble our efforts for the urgent passage of state employment protections and strong federal legislation.”
LGBT rights groups have been pressing for this move for more than a year since it became clear that ENDA was probably permanently stalled in the House. Story developing...

UPDATE: More from Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed:
The Obama administration has maintained in the past that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is its preferred path for LGBT workplace protections, but Monday’s announcement signals an acknowledgement that, despite Senate passage last fall, the bill is not likely to move in the House this year. Monday’s planned announcement comes the day before Obama is slated to talk in New York City at a Democratic National Committee LGBT gala. Additionally, the White House reception planned to mark LGBT Pride Month is set for June 30. Although the specifics of the White House plans were not yet known, the order likely would either amend an earlier executive order signed by President Lyndon Johnson banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin or would be modeled after that order.
UPDATE II: From the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
Today’s announcement, when implemented, will only protect employees of federal contractors. The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and its leadership continue to press for a vote of the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which passed the U.S. Senate in November 2013. ENDA currently has 205 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would establish basic protections in the workplace to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There are currently only 18 states and the District of Columbia that prohibit discrimination on bases of sexual orientation and gender identity, and an additional 3 states that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. ENDA would provide a basic level of protection against workplace discrimination in a manner modeled closely on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and would apply to private employers as well as local, state, and federal government employers.
The Caucus was established in 2008 by former Rep. Barney Frank and then-Rep. Tammy Baldwin.

UPDATE III: From the Human Rights Campaign.
The executive order will prohibit companies that contract with the federal government from discriminating in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Federal contractors employ more than 20 percent of the American workforce – 28 million workers -- and collect around $500 billion in federal contracts every year. According to the Williams Institute, an executive order would protect 11 million more American workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and up to 16.5 million more workers based on gender identity.

Notably, the proposed executive order will require Exxon Mobil Corporation, a top federal contractor that draws hundreds of millions annually in federal contracts, to provide non-discrimination protections to its LGBT employees and prospective hires. Yet ExxonMobil has consistently resisted these kinds of protections. Earlier this month, ExxonMobil’s shareholders voted for the 17th time to reject a policy that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT workers.
UPDATE IV: From the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
"We are elated at the news that the President has directed his staff to begin drafting a Presidential Executive Order to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination by employers who work with the federal government. In 32 states LGBT people still have no protections against job loss and adverse actions at work based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The President's promise to sign an Executive Order barring discrimination in employment for a large swath of employers will provide a significant number of LGBT workers the security of knowing they can support themselves and their families."

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