A Win For Workplace Fairness

— by CAP Action War Room, The Progress Report

President Obama Just Announced The Single Largest Expansion Of LGBT Workplace Protections In Our Country’s History


As many as 9 out of 10 voters believe federal law already protects LGBT workers from discrimination. But it doesn’t. And while the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was passed by the Senate this year, it has stalled in the House; Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has made it clear that there is “no way” ENDA will pass this year.

Enter the latest chapter of the Obama Administration’s “year of action.” The White House announced today that President Obama will issue an executive order requiring that all companies who contract with the federal government must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Think Progress reporter Zack Ford has the details:

The order, expected to be finalized in the coming weeks, is an extension of orders previously issued by past presidents — most recently Johnson — similarly banning employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin among all contractors and subcontractors who do over $10,000 in business with the government in any one year.

The protections will reach over one million LGBT workers across the country, making it the single largest expansion of LGBT workplace protections in our country’s history. There continue to be 29 states that offer no employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 32 with no protections based on gender identity, but many LGBT workers in those states will now have workplace protections for the first time ever. As many as 43 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and 90 percent of transgender people have experienced some form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

As with Obama’s executive order raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10, this order will cover an enormous number of people but still relies on Congress to pass a law making sure that millions more LGBT Americans have the freedom to work.

Recently, some LGBT advocates have been giving second thoughts to the current ENDA bill in Congress, based on a religious liberty exemption that could have the potential interpreted too broadly. Here’s Zack Ford again:

The LGBT movement has also become increasingly divided over whether ENDA in its current form is worth pursuing. After two decades of failed consideration in Congress, the bill has been weakened by an exemption that would grant religious organizations unprecedented privilege to continue discriminating against LGBT people. A number of state groups and legal organizations have recently dropped their support for ENDA because they believe that the exemption goes too far and codifies into law the idea that LGBT identities are incompatible with faith. The executive order is thus an important step even if ENDA eventually passes.

BOTTOM LINE: Americans of any sexual orientation and gender identity should have the freedom to work and the right to equal treatment in the workplace. President Obama’s latest executive action is the biggest expansion of those rights in American history. There is more left to be done when it comes to giving all Americans equal protection, and Congress should follow the President’s lead by passing a federal law that ends unfair and discriminatory workplace practices that hurt LGBT workers and their families.

Resources on LGBT Workplace Discrimination:

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Top Ten Lame Reasons Being Used by Folks on the Right to Oppose Marriage Equality

Please pardon my sarcasm at the ridiculousness of their reasoning:

  1. Being gay is not natural.  Yeah … like real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester and air conditioning.
  2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay.  Gee … I guess they think that hanging around tall people just might make them taller.
  3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior.  People may even wish to marry their pets.  Right, because their dog actually has legal standing under the Constitution and can actually use a pen to sign that marriage contract.
  4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all.  Hmm…really?  How do they explain women no longer being treated like “property” — or inter-racial couples now being able to marry — or the concept of “divorce” which didn’t used to be legal?
  5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed.  And how might that be?  Is your Congressional Representative proposing to eliminate your marriage deductions if gays get to marry.  Or better yet, should the sanctity of every marriage look like that of Britney Spears or your favorite talking heads, e.g., Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, etc.
  6. The only valid marriages are those which produce children.  Oh come on, give me a break!  Justice Sotomayer shredded that reasoning in about one minute’s time yesterday morning.  Are they seriously trying to argue that gay couples, infertile couples and old people should be allowed to marry because they can serve a governmental requirement to procreate?  Get Real!
  7. Obviously, gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.   UHHHH … read reason #6.  If gay couples can’t procreate, how the heck are they going to bear and raise gay children.  Apparently GOD gave some “straight” couple a gay kid.  Maybe you should talk to GOD about that …. just sayin’
  8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion.   Excuse me … but for all the Constitution-thumping you folks do, what exactly is it that you do not understand about the separation of church and state dictated by the Constitution …. or do you read the Constitution like you apparently read your bible?  I’m sorry, but our Constitution does not permit you to impose “your personal theology” on others.
  9. Children can never succeed without both a male and a female role model at home.  Sure that’s why we have so many dead-beat dad who not only don’t show up to lend a helping hand from time to time, but who fail to provide any monetary support.  Oh … and please enlighten me.  Just exactly when was it we passed a law saying it was forbidden for single parents to raise children?
  10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of our society; we could never adapt to new social norms.  Excuse me?  Like we haven’t been able to adapt to electricity, cars, the internet, making slavery illegal, finally allowing women to vote and own property?  

LGBT folks have been around, and have been incessantly ostracized, since the time of Moses — you know, that guy who climbed the mountain back in the eye-for-an-eye old testament days — in the time BEFORE Jesus Christ walked the earth.  Sunday is Easter, an anniversary of the death of Jesus Christ, who supposedly died for the sins of mankind.  Folks opposing marriage equality — who call themselves “Christian” — should take some time this weekend reflect on the true teachings of their “savior.”

Marriage is more than a religious rite.  It’s an economic issue. It’s a tax issue. It’s an inheritance issue.  It’s a Social Security benefits issue.  But, most of all it’s a love, commitment and family issue.  It’s well past the time we should put the discriminatory policy of marriage inequality to an end.  Those of you who are against marriage equality need to stop drinking, smoking or ingesting whatever substance is leading to all this hate-mongering.  Get over it.  Grow up and get a life.