Since the House has decided to never bring up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would protect the LGBT community from discrimination by employers, President Obama is preparing to issue an executive order that basically puts ENDA-like rules in place for companies that get federal contracts.
“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.”
The official reiterated his support for ENDA, which passed the Senate in November, and criticized the Republican-led House for declining to bring it up. In February, the president took similar action on a minimum wage hike after it stalled in Congress, raising it to $10.10 per hour for federal contractors, the small portion of the economy that is directly under his control.
It will be interesting to see how the GOP takes this one. Do they really want to raise a stink like they did over the executive order on the minimum wage back in February? That was easy; their record on crapping on the low-wage worker is sterling. But to take a stand in favor of discrimination?
My guess is that they’ll try to weasel out of it by saying, “Oh, well, no one should be discriminated against, but the
black president shouldn’t be acting like a dictator issuing executive orders.”