President Obama drafting order to protect LGBT employees

President Obama - Gay Flag Cover

President Barack Obama’s pro-gay stance has certainly garnered praise from LGBT activists ever since he begin to publicly support a myriad of social changes, from same-sex marriage to international protection of the LGBT community. However, President Obama has been notably criticized for failing to create federal laws to protect LGBT citizens on U.S. soil. Now, however, it seems like President Obama is finally making good on his promise for LGBT equality as news has revealed that he’s directed his staff to draft an executive order that would ban workplace discrimination against the LGBT community.

According to the Huffington Post, a White House rep confirmed the news, saying that it’s unclear whether Obama will sign the bill into law soon, but that he is serious about creating non-discrimination laws for the LGBT community.

“The president’s intentions are clear,” the official said, when asked whether Obama would sign the order. “We will keep you posted.”

For years the Obama administration has urged congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it illegal for employers nationwide to fire or harass someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill was passed in the Senate, but floundered in the House.

Earlier this year, Obama was pressured to push the bill forward, but Obama refused, saying that he preferred that Congress pass ENDA because if he signed an executive order into law, it would only ban employment discrimination by government contractors, leaving all other LGBT employees under other employers susceptible to job discrimination.

Now, it seems that Obama has had a change of mind and is deciding to push for a non-discrimination bill, and if Congress won’t pass one, it looks like he will finally go around them and sign an executive order of his own, which would protect over 16 million LGBT employees in the work place.

“[The executive order 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,” according to the White House official.

“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 said. “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.”

Obama’s move could result in the signing of a non-discrimination bill in the near future so that the LGBT community can move one step closer in legally sharing the same rights and protections as other citizens. – nicholas robinson

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