President Barack Obama will sign an executive order that will ban federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation, according to a White House official who spoke with NBC News. Close to one quarter of the workforce in the country is made up of federal workers.
“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,” the 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.”
The announcement was made one day before President Obama is set to travel to New York for the Democratic National Committee’s annual gay and lesbian gala fundraiser. Obama has been pressed in the past by fundraisers involving LGBT donors to extend the discrimination protections to federal employees.
According to the LA Times, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said, “By issuing an executive order, the president will not only create fairer workplaces across the country, he will demonstrate to Congress that adopting federal employment protections for [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people is good policy and good for business.”
Peter Sprigg is a policy analyst with the Family Research Council. Sprigg said, “While the president prepares to address a New York gathering of gay rights supporters, the American people will be left to sort out the costs to religious and constitutional liberties resulting from this executive order.”