A soon-to-be Executive Order barring Federal Contractors from Engaging in anti-LGBT Job Discrimination?

As the law stands today, federal law does not forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation in the same way it forbids discrimination based on gender, pregnancy or race. That is why democratic leaders have proposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (“ENDA”) which failed to move during the 111th Congress.

The idea was then suggested that President Obama could issue an executive order barring federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transexual) job discrimination. While President Obama said he supported ENDA, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney refused to say whether or not President Obama would issue an executive order on the matter.

This Friday, House Minority Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) endorsed the idea of President Obama issuing this executive order. Others who have voiced support for this potential directive are Jared Polis (D-CO) as well as Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). “It’s time the government stopped doing business with businesses that discriminate against LGBT Americans” said Richard Socarides, president of Equality Matters, a group advocating for gay rights.

Also, for the Washington Blade, an information website dedicated to the gay community, this executive order could complement ENDA even if the legislation is passed. It would provide LGBT people seeking remedies with two different causes of action. The directive would provide recourse through the Department of Labor while ENDA would provide recourse through the EEOC.