An executive order banning discrimination has been long sought by gay rights groups. The White House had held off on anti-discrimination executive order waiting for signs of action by Congress.
President Obama plans to sign an order banning discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees by companies that do business with the federal government, a long-sought goal of gay rights organizations.
After months of calling on Congress to pass a strong anti-discrimination law, Obama told his staff to come up with an executive order banning discrimination by federal contractors, a White House official said Monday.
The measure will prohibit those firms from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The move would implement on a limited scale what the White House would like to see Congress pass into law for everyone to follow.
“This is consistent with the president’s views that all Americans, LGBT or not, should be treated with dignity and respect,” the official said.
Although several states have laws that ban discrimination against gays in the workplace, many do not. In those states, an employer can legally fire, demote or otherwise discriminate against a worker solely on grounds of sexual orientation.