In President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, he neglected to call on Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, following the historic bipartisan Senate vote last year.
Also not mentioned among the actions the President will take is an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin released the following statement:
“The President’s message tonight failed to address the needs of LGBT workers looking for a fair shake in this economy. Not only was there no call for the House to pass a federal law to protect LGBT workers nationwide, President Obama also sidestepped his commitment to take action where Congress has left off, leaving out an order prohibiting discrimination by federal contractors. Unfortunately, President Obama missed a real opportunity to use the State of the Union to improve the lives of LGBT people by taking immediate executive action to address anti-LGBT discrimination for the millions of Americans employed by federal contractors. No federal contractor like ExxonMobil should be able to take billions in taxpayer dollars without safeguards in place to prevent discrimination. The President promised this action in 2007 and we will continue to work with him and Congress to ensure that all Americans can contribute to the economy without fear of anti-LGBT discrimination.”
There are no laws in 29 states that prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the same is true for 33 states on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.