Obama Won’t Order Ban On Gay Bias by Employers for federal contractorsApr 13th, 2012 | By Kentucky Guardian Contributors & Staff | Category: National News
U.S. President Obama disappointed and vexed gay supporters on Wednesday with his decision, conveyed to activists by a senior adviser, not to sign an executive order banning discrimination by employers with federal contracts.
The executive order, which activists said had support from the U.S. Labor and the U.S. Justice Departments, would have applied to gay, bisexual and transgender people working for or seeking employment from federal contractors. Current law does not protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and legislation to do so, which Mr. Obama endorses, lacks sufficient votes in Congress.
“While it is not our usual practice to discuss executive orders that may or may not be under consideration, we do not expect that an executive order on LGBT nondiscrimination for federal contractors will be issued at this time,” said an administration official who would speak about the controversy only if provided anonymity.
That stance departs from the White House’s prominent “we can’t wait” campaign: Since last fall, Mr. Obama has signed executive orders on a variety of issues, arguing that “we can’t wait” for legislation that Republicans in Congress refuse to let pass.
By not acting on the employment nondiscrimination order, Mr. Obama has newly angered a gay constituency that has been a source of campaign cash and that had been willing to overlook his failure so far to endorse same-sex marriage, given his actions on its other priorities, like repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against openly gay service members.
Joe Solmonese, the president of the Human Rights Campaign and one of the gay-rights activists who attended a White House meeting on Wednesday called by Valerie Jarrett, one of Mr. Obama’s closest advisers, said afterward: “We are extremely disappointed with this decision and will continue to advocate for an executive order from the president. The unfortunate truth is that hard-working Americans can be fired simply for being gay or transgender.”
Winnie Stachelberg, another attendee and executive vice president at the liberal Center for American Progress, issued a statement expressing disappointment and citing studies “that gay and transgender people face disproportionately high rates of discrimination in the workplace.”