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NY Times Calls on President Obama to Pass Executive Order for ENDA

The New York Times’ Editorial Board reiterated its support for workplace equality in an op-ed yesterday that called out President Obama’s “unmet promise on discrimination. “

Currently, there is no law in 29 states that protects individuals from being fired for their sexual orientation, and in 33 states for their gender identity and expression. Though President Obama made a campaign promise in 2008 to ban discrimination by federal contractors and continues to vocalize support for ENDA, the administration has yet to take clear action.

The NY Times Editorial Board wrote:

“Mr. Obama said in November that workplace discrimination “needs to stop, because, in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense.” An executive order barring discrimination by federal contractors would extend badly needed job protections to more than 11 million employees who work in states that lack such protections and whose companies fail to provide them voluntarily, according to the Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law.

What Mr. Obama needs to do is act on his principles and issue such an order, without the religious exemption that was put into the Senate bill to lure Republican votes. Challenged last week to explain the mystifying delay on this issue, Mr. Obama’s spokesman said that the president supported broader legislation and that its enactment by Congress would make an executive order “redundant.”

But, as the Human Rights Campaign rightly noted, an “executive order first issued by President Johnson still, today, provides important and unique protections for employees of federal contractors against discrimination based on race, sex, religion — despite the fact that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against such discrimination in workplaces across the country.” 

Last year, after an aggressive campaign by HRC, the U.S. Senate passed with bipartisan support the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination. However, ENDA needs to pass the U.S. House of Representatives. 

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