President Obama plans to issue an executive order banning LGBT discrimination among federal contractors. (Win McNamee / Getty Images)
President Obama will issue an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, according to the White House.
This comes after months of pressure by lawmakers for Obama to go around Congress. Nearly 200 lawmakers signed a March 18 letter to the White House urging the administration to take action on its own.
While the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed the Senate on Nov. 7, it has stalled in the House. The legislation would prohibit employers from firing, refusing to hire or discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in a statement it was a “major step forward” to increase fairness for all contractor employees.
“This decision is good for LGBTQ people, good for our economy and good for America. Unfortunately, many of us who don't work for federal contractors will still lack workplace protections. Now we must redouble our efforts for the urgent passage of state employment protections and strong federal legislation,” Carey said.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a press briefing March 19 that President Obama supported the legislation pending in Congress but would not state whether the administration would issue an executive order.
More than 190,000 people also signed a petition at administration website Change.org demanding President Obama sign an executive order banning discrimination against federal contractor employees.