President Obama has asked his staff to prepare an executive order to ban federal contractors from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity, a White House official said Monday.
"Following on his pledge for this to be a year of action to expand opportunity for all Americans, the President has directed his staff to prepare for his signature an Executive Order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity," a White House official said. "The action would build upon existing protections, which generally prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This is consistent with the President's views that all Americans, LGBT or not, should be treated with dignity and respect."
It is not known when the president will sign the executive order. President Obama is scheduled to attend the DNC LGBT Gala in New York City tomorrow.
The decision is a major victory for gay rights organizations, which have been pressuring the administration to take further steps to extend these discrimination protections to the LGBT community. There is currently no legislation that offers these protections in the workplace. Last year, the Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA, which would have banned this type of discrimination, but the bill was basically dead on arrival in the House of Representatives.
This won't be the first time President Obama has used an executive order on an issue which Congress has failed to move forward. Earlier this year, President Obama signed an executive order i ncreasing the minimum wage to $10.10 for all employees working under a federal contract.