In a month he declared LGBT Pride Month, President Barack Obama is set to make another move towards the progression of gay rights. According to a report by USA Today on Monday, Obama plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation.
Administration officials announced Obama’s plan to sign the order, but did not disclose when the paperwork would be ready for Obama’s signature. The order, drawn up to mirror a Senate bill designed to protect LGBT workers from employment discrimination, will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the federal law that already forbids discrimination based on a person’s race, color, religion, gender and national origin.
The announcement also comes a day before the president is scheduled to address an LGBT gala in New York City sponsored by the Democratic National Committee. With this announcement, Obama will more than certain be greeted with an even louder applause because of his inclusion of LGBT issues in his two terms as president.
According to Think Progress, the protections of the order to be signed by Obama will reach over one million LGBT workers across the country. It will go down as the largest expansion of LGBT workplace protections in United States history. Currently, 29 states have no protections in place for LGBT workers and although there have been policies initiated by individual corporations, there are still a high percent of LGBT workers, particularly transgender people who have reported harassment or discrimination in the workplace.
Gay rights activists, groups and allies have pushed for Obama to sign this kind of policy as it would represent another step forward in the progression of LGBT equality in our nation. The White House itself has been pressing Congress to pass legislation, but resistance has forced Obama to move forward with an executive order.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, has already applauded the move saying, “The president will not only create fairer workplaces across the country, he will demonstrate to Congress that adopting federal employment protections for LGBT people is good policy and good for business.”