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President Barack Obama waits with Sergeants at Arms and Members of Congress before entering the House Chamber to deliver the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2014 Standing with the President are, from left: Paul
If Congress won't act against discrimination, President Obama will do what he can.

With job protections for LGBT people stalled in Congress, President Obama is taking action. He will sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination by federal contractors—essentially a limited version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that the Senate passed but House Republicans have not even allowed a vote. Obama has held off on issuing an executive order, calling on Congress instead to protect all workers by passing ENDA. But now:

The executive order being drafted by the president's staff would "build upon existing protections, which generally prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin," according to the White House official.

"Today, millions of Americans in most states in the country go to work every day knowing they could lose their jobs simply because of who they are or who they love," the official said. "No current federal law adequately protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers from employment discrimination. That’s why the President has long supported federal legislation to explicitly prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."

Protection against workplace discrimination is not only broadly popular among American voters, most people actually believe it is already illegal to fire or refuse to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite its popularity, House Republicans have been standing in the way of this basic measure of justice. Now, President Obama is extending it where he can.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Rights are Human Rights, Good News, and Daily Kos.

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