President Obama: End anti-gay discrimination by federal contractors

To: President Barack Obama

On June 16, the White House announced that President Obama intends to sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. With this announcement, the arc of history bends a little farther toward justice. Discrimination simply has no place in American workplaces. This executive order will allow millions more Americans to go to work empowered with the right to do their jobs free of harassment or discrimination.

President Obama: End anti-gay discrimination by federal contractors
106,990
of 200,000 signatures
Campaign created by Senator Jeff Merkley Icon-email

It is wrong that American workers in many states can be fired from their job because they’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Please sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Why is this important?

In more than 30 states, Americans can be fired just because they’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. I think that’s wrong.

That’s why I’ve taken up Ted Kennedy’s mantle and fought to protect every American worker by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the United States Senate last fall. Shamefully, Republicans in the House of Representatives have refused to hold a vote on the bill.

President Obama has pledged to make 2014 a “year of action” and to use his executive authority to make progress where Congress refuses to do so. The House Republicans may be blocking ENDA, but the President can make a big difference by signing an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

For nearly 75 years, since President Roosevelt signed an executive order banning discrimination in defense contracts in 1941, Presidents have used their executive authority to end taxpayer-funded discrimination in the workplace. Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson took similar actions to expand workplace protections. Now it is President Obama’s turn.

Millions of Americans work for federal contractors. By signing an ENDA executive order, President Obama can ensure that taxpayer money does not go to employers who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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