Seventy-two members of Congress asked President Obama to issue an executive order banning sexual orientation discrimination by federal contractors, but the White House said not now.
An administration statement released late Wednesday did not mention an executive order and indicated the president prefers the legislative route.
Obama “has long supported an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit employers across the country from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” the statement said.
Joe Solmonese, president of the gay advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, was not happy with the news.
“We are extremely disappointed with this decision and will continue to advocate for an executive order from the president,” he said. “The unfortunate truth is that hard-working Americans can be fired simply for being gay or transgender.”
No doubt, the lawmakers also will be disappointed.
In an April 3 letter to the White House, they encouraged Obama to expand on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 order that prohibited contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
“The opportunity to expand protections against workplace discrimination to members of the LGBT [lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender] community is a critical step that you can take today,” the letter said, “especially when data and research tell us that 43 percent of LGB people and 90 percent of transgender people have experienced workplace discrimination.”
Only House Democrats signed the letter, which originated with New Jersey’s Frank Pallone Jr.
SOURCE: Joe Davidson, The Washington Post