Senators Urge Pres. Obama to Issue Executive Order Protecting LGBT Employees of Federal Contractors Against Discrimination

In a letter dated February 14, 2013, 37 senators urged President Obama to issue an Executive Order protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors against discrimination.  This would supplement the protections embodied in Executive Order No. 11246 (signed by President Johnson in 1965), which requires federal contractors to refrain from discriminating because of race, creed, color, or national origin.

The letter argues that “making this important change is … a matter of basic fairness” since “[d]espite advances in many American workplaces, rates of discrimination against LGBT people remain high.”

While federal law prohibits discrimination against persons based on various protected characteristics (such as race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability), at present, there is no nationwide protection for victims of LGBT discrimination.  Both the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law, however, protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Federal employes already enjoy protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, due to Executive Order 13087, which amends Executive Order 11478.

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