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by
Bridget Johnson

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June 16, 2014 - 12:58 pm

President Obama was preparing an executive order Monday to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The order will essentially force a bill that was approved in the Senate but hasn’t been taken up in the House, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

“It is a critical step forward in protecting LGBT workers in the workplace, and a change that I urged the president to make in a letter I signed to him,” said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.). “In many states, a person can legally be fired or denied a job simply because who they are, or are perceived to be, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individual. This is unfair and wrong.”

In November, House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) spokesman said he would not support ENDA because “this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small-business jobs.”

GOP aides also stressed that protections for gays and lesbians already exist under law.

“Speaker Boehner has refused to bring ENDA to a vote on the House floor,” Smith said today. “I am a cosponsor of ENDA in the House and continue to urge its passage. No one should be denied rights because of who they love, and I will continue to fight for LGBT equality.”

“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 told TIME, not clarifying when the executive order would be signed.

“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.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), an original co-sponsor of ENDA, called Obama’s action “important, and a welcome first step while we wait for the Republican leadership to bring up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate –- for a vote in the House.”

“With the House leadership thus far preventing a vote, it was time to use every avenue available to fight discrimination against LGBT Americans,” Schiff said. “Nevertheless, this does not free Congress from the responsibility to pass ENDA and protect all workers from discrimination and we continue to call for such action.”

Republican supporters of ENDA included Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who said in November that he voted for the Senate version because “one of the most important constitutionally mandated functions of the federal government is to protect the rights of individuals.”

While Flake had reservations about the bill, which extended protections beyond the 2007 version he supported the House, “I believe supporting this bill is the right thing to do.”

“I am hopeful that the bill moves forward in a way that works for employers as well as employees,” he said.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
We're going to have the Fabulous Forces instead of the Special Forces!
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
ENDA will mean the end of religious freedom in America. It must never see the light of day. All of the Christian business owners who declined to provide services for same-sex weddings and lost their court cases, were in states that had expanded their anti-discrimination laws to include sexual behavior. It's bad enough that this has been done on a state level, but just imagine what it will be like if it is nationalized.

The expansion of anti-discrimination laws to include sexual behavior is unnecessary and it must be fought.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (20)
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I hate to say it, but in this case Barry is right. In no case should government discriminate against anyone for anything that does not have an impact on the job they were hired to do. That said, individuals and non-government organizations should be able to do as they please. That's kind of the whole point of limited government. It doesn't do bad things to people and doesn't interfere with anything outside of government.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yawn. Another decree of small consequence by the king of no consequence.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
This will then allow gay activists to then sue the Churches for 'discrimination" and force them to comply. There will be no right to freedom of association for people who are not in these anti-American "protected classes".

Gay people running businesses will remain free to discriminate against those that disagree with them, of course.

That's all this is for. To force others to shut up and do as their told by their progressive rulers in DC.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course they're irrelevant--we now live under a dictatorship.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Adam Smith says nobody should be denied rights because of who they love. Is every LGBT in America in love? Are they all in commited relationships? I thought it was all about the sex of the people to whom you feel sexually attracted. Another case of changing the language.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
We're going to have the Fabulous Forces instead of the Special Forces!
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Marvelous Marines, adorable Army, scrumptious sailors.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now he can test it by going in for his own operation.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bathhouse Barry is sticking up [so to speak] for his friends.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
We all know that this is not the purpose nor intent of executive orders. It is not a legal/Constitutional use of executive orders...when will our representatives in DC stand up?
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, what exactly is the point of the Congress if Obama is simply going to enact anything that Congress won't pass as an Executive Order?

And more to the point, what are we going to do to stop Obama from doing any more of this and how do we roll back the damage he's already done?
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
'Operation Valkyrie'
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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