President Obama To Issue Executive Order Extending Employment Protections To LGBT Community

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The White House announced today President Obama will sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees. This executive order will cover as many as 16 million employees.

President of the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin, applauded President Obama's decision: “By issuing an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people, 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.”

The decision comes seven months after the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) for the first time in it's history. While the executive order is less comprehensive than ENDA, it is an important step to take while Republicans deny the legislation a vote in the House.

Read about the fight for a state-wide non-discrimination law in Texas below the jump.

Without laws to protect against anti-gay bias, it remains legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation in 29 states. It also remains legal to fire someone based on their gender identity in 33 states. You can do both in the state of Texas.

This lack of protection laws has prompted cities like Houston and San Antonio to pass non-discrimination ordinances to protect members of their LGBT communities from discrimination.

According to Equality Texas' Equality 2013 Poll, an overwhelming majority of Texas voters, 75.8%, support banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace. Another 69.7% of Texas voters also support protecting trans citizens from the same discrimination.

Both Senators Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte remain strong supporters of a state-wide LGBT non-discrimination law.

During last year's 83rd Legislative Session, Senator Van de Putte filed a bill prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill was co-sponsored by several other Democrats, including Senator Wendy Davis. While the bill managed to receive a hearing last session, their efforts were left pending in committee because of Republican opposition.

The two have continued to advocate for such a law as part of their campaigns for governor and lt. gov.

In the year that Texas Republicans have made anti-gay discrimination one of their platform's biggest priority, protection for the LGBT community is most needed.


About Author

Omar Araiza

Staff writer Omar Araiza covers immigration, Latino voters, the U.S.-Mexico border, and LGBT issues. He is a proud South Texas native, born and raised in the lower Rio Grande Valley. Omar tweets from @AraizaTX.

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