News / USA

Obama to Sign Order Barring Federal Workplace Discrimination Against Gays

FILE - Gay activists are seen at a rally at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., June 26, 2013.
FILE - Gay activists are seen at a rally at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., June 26, 2013.
President Barack Obama will sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a White House official said on Monday, handing another victory to gay rights activists.
The White House has been pressing Congress to pass legislation to ban employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and has resisted issuing an executive order in favor of pursuing a broader legislative solution.
But Obama has spent the year taking executive action on a host of other domestic priorities where Congress has failed to make legislative headway, and activists have pressed him to do the same on the issue of gay rights.
“Following on his pledge for this to be a year of action to expand opportunity for all Americans, the president has directed his staff to prepare for his signature an Executive Order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” a White House official said.
“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,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Since coming into office, Obama helped end the “don't ask, don't tell” policy that prohibited gays from serving openly in the military and, after what he described as an evolution in his thinking, gave backing to gay marriage during his 2012 re-election campaign.
Pursuing the executive order is a shift for the White House, which has said since last year that such a move would carry far less weight than broader congressional action.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate but has languished in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
An order barring discrimination by federal contractors would apply to about 20 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.
It would make it illegal for companies with U.S. government contracts to fire or avoid hiring employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity, just as it now is with race. Federal protections are necessary because state laws vary, activists say.
The White House official declined to say when Obama would sign the order. Obama returns to Washington on Monday after a weekend get-away in California.
“The president's intentions are clear,” the official said.
The new move may energize gays and young people, two constituency groups that make up an important part of Obama's political base, ahead of congressional elections in November that could shift control of the Senate to Republicans.
Obama has been fundraising for Democrats and urging voters to show up at the polls in November for the midterm election, which typically sees lower turn out than in years with presidential races. A Republican-controlled Congress would make it more difficult for the president to pass any of his legislative agenda during his final two years in office.
The order could increase pressure on the White House to take executive action on immigration. Similar to the non-discrimination order, Obama has resisted such a move while holding out hope that the House would advance broad legislation.

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Comment Sorting
by: ed from: oregon
June 16, 2014 7:01 PM
Now you can deploy them to Uganda!

by: Twinkie from: Austin, TX
June 16, 2014 6:46 PM
I would not exactly call an Executive Order anything like a "Victory" ...
... It is simply more of the same unilateral tyranny that Barry is known for. ... Not anything like a democratic process.
Personally, I think the Constitution would support this action so
why not respect the legislative process ? ... Any subsequent President could just as easily repeal this XO with the stroke of a pen, right ?

by: Ronnie Raygun
June 16, 2014 6:09 PM
I suppose, Mr. President, we're not going to get a clear, federal definition of what homosexuality is, before we're legally forced to accept, yet another, 'unquestionable', belief system, regardless how removed from reality it may be?

June 16, 2014 6:08 PM
Being left-handed – being black or being gay is just as natural. It is a sometimes rare occurrence to fall in Love and to hold that person in your heart and be loved in return ... it is something that should be celebrated! If it is love between two guys or two girls … all the better … it takes even more courage to defend that LOVE!

by: John Stefanyszyn from: Canada
June 16, 2014 5:59 PM
President Obama turns to the 'god' of "FREEDOM" of self-rights to support the rights of homosexuals and transgender people.
Why does he not say that we are to do good to others, and to enemies, as per the Will of the One and Only Creator, to Whom the Lord Jesus Christ is the Only way?
...perhaps if he said this then he would be confessing that there is Only One Creator, and that His Son is the Only Way...and in so doing he would betray his desire & belief that it is RIGHT , a right, to be free to worship any 'god', to serve and magnify the self (XES).

Soon, very soon, the Lord Jesus Christ will return to rule the earth in power according to and in obedience to the Will of the One Creator, to love Him and to love the fellowman, and NOT according to man's first love for "his freedom" to do what is right in his own eyes, to know good and evil as per his own self-justified desires.

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