President Obama called on Congress on Monday to ban job discrimination against gay Americans. The call came as he signed an executive order doing so for workers of federal contractors.
In a ceremony at the White House, Mr. Obama noted that in much of the country, companies can fire employees based on their sexual orientation. “That’s wrong,” he said to an audience of supporters. “We’re here to do what we can to make it right — to bend that arc of justice just a little bit in a better direction.”
Before signing the order, Mr. Obama noted that Congress has debated such legislation for decades without agreeing to it, and he implored his supporters to raise the temperature on lawmakers even as they have achieved great momentum in the drive to legalize same-sex marriage through much of the nation. “I’m going to do what I can with the authority I have to act,” he said. “The rest of you, of course, need to keep putting pressure on Congress.”
The federal government already prohibits discrimination against LGBT men and women in its own workforce. The order would extend that to companies that do work for the federal government.
It also, for the first time, explicitly protects federal workers based on gender identity, meaning transgender employees. Religious groups argued they should not be forced to go against their beliefs in order to gain federal contracts. Advocates for religion said a court fight will follow the order. President Obama did not address their concerns.
Hopefully the executive order leads to equal rights for all.
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