Yesterday White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated he believes that an executive order barring anti-LGBT discrimination for federal contractors would be made “redundant” with the passage of Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). In response, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued the following statement:
“We couldn’t disagree more. 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. Even if ENDA were to pass tomorrow, we’d still need the president to sign the executive order in order to ensure that those same protections exist for LGBT workers.”
ENDA would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In November the U.S. Senate voted 64 to 32 to pass the ENDA for the first time in the legislation’s two-decade history. All Senate Democrats joined 10 Senate Republicans to approve the bill. House Speaker John Boehner has suggested that he will not bring the bill to the floor for an up-or-down vote. By issuing an executive order, the president would not only create fairer workplaces across the country, he would continue to put pressure on the House to adopt federal employment protections for LGBT people.