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Friday, April 20, 2012

More pressure on Obama to sign nondiscrimination order by BYRON TAU via David ReadyToRumble Fleck

The Washington Post editorial board calls on President Obama to sign a proposed executive order that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in the wake of a White House announcement last week that no order would likely be signed any time soon:
Mr. Carney struggled for some eight minutes but was unable to give a satisfactory answer. That’s understandable, because there is no principled reason for refusing to extend such workplace protections to millions of Americans.
[...] Such an order would have a beneficial and immediate impact on a large swath of the U.S. workforce: Federal contractors employ some 26 million people. Although many — especially the largest — already have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, some 16.5 million of these employees work for companies that do not, according to the Williams Institute. A recent poll of likely 2012 voters showed that nearly three-quarters of respondents favored such protections for LGBT employees.
The president, Mr. Carney argued, “is committed to lasting and comprehensive non-discrimination protections,” but those protections would be best achieved through a “legislative solution,” such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA, which would extend prohibitions against sexual orientation discrimination to all but the smallest private-sector employers, is a worthy piece of legislation, but its passage appears remote and likely will remain so if conservatives control either chamber of Congress or if the GOP candidate captures the White House in November.
The issue is of some significance to many gay rights activists, who are also impatient with the president's 'evolving' stance on gay marriage.
Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, said in a statement: "Seventy-two Members of Congress, The New York Times, and The Washington Post all agree with 73% of American voters that 'We Can't Wait' on this Executive Order" -- referring to the Obama campaign's slogan and Freedom to Work's new "We Can't Wait" campaign. "The President has an opportunity to level the playing field for nearly a quarter of the American workforce today, and to ensure workplace fairness."