Obama drafting LGBTQ job protections executive order while Congress stalls on ENDA

The order would ban workplace discrimination against LGBTQ employees of federal contractors

By Katie McDonough
Published June 16, 2014 8:38PM (UTC)
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Barack Obama (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama is drafting an executive order that would ban workplace discrimination against LGBTQ employees of federal contractors, according to a report from the Huffington Post.

The White House official who spoke to the Huffington Post suggested that Obama may be drafting the order as a way to push Congress to act to pass more sweeping protections, most notably the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on gender or sexual identity. "The official would not say whether the president will sign the order into law on Monday -- suggesting the White House is leaking the news to warn lawmakers that they have a limited window to pass more sweeping workplace discrimination legislation before he acts without them," according to the report.

An executive order targeted at employees of federal contractors could affect as many as 16 million workers, and 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," the White House official told the Huffington Post.

"Today, millions of Americans in most states in the country go to work every day knowing they could lose their jobs simply because of who they are or who they love," the official continued. "No current federal law adequately protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers from employment discrimination. That’s why the president has long supported federal legislation to explicitly prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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