Home of the Free and Land of Workplace Discrimination


Americans take pride in our country’s ideals of justice and equality, and in that fact that each citizen is made to be equal under the law. Here’s the truth though: Every citizen is not equal under the law, and justice/equality are terribly lacking in many areas, specifically in regards to LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) individuals.

We live in a country where it is entirely legal under federal law to fire someone based on their gender identity and/or sexuality. 29 states lack explicit protections against discrimination based on sexuality, and 32 lack these protections for gender identity.

On June 16th, President Obama announced his intentions to sign a bill into action which would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against LGBTQ individuals. The bill would provide Americans who work for government contractors with protections against discrimination based on sexuality and gender identity which equal those in place in regards to race, sex, ethnicity, etc. These protections would be applied to 26 million individuals, or approximately 1 out of 5 American workers.

While running for office in 2008 ending workplace discrimination against LGBTQ individuals was a large part of President Obama’s platform, and now, six years later, we are finally beginning to see action being taken. So why are we just now seeing an effort being made by the Obama administration?

The Obama administration originally hesitated to take executive action in hopes that congress would pass ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act). While executive action would only affect employees of federal contractors, the passing of ENDA would have protected those employees as well as many others.

Speaking about ENDA, Jay Carney, former White House Press Secretary, claimed “I think if the law passed—and I’m not a lawyer—and I haven’t read every sentence of the law, but I think if a law passed that broadly banned this kind of employment discrimination, it would make redundant an executive order.”.

While ENDA passed in the Senate, it failed to make it through the House and this resulted in the necessity of executive action to offer some protection to LGBTQ individuals until ENDA, or a bill like it, is passed in the future. While President Obama has not yet made anything official, we can hope that he carries and protects employees of federal contractors from discrimination.

Workplace discrimination against LGBTQ individuals is a major issue today, and it will continue to be an issue until something is done to fix it. With 73% of 2012 voters supporting an executive ban on LGBTQ discrimination by federal contractors, we can hope to see change take place soon. Encouraging your representatives, senators, and our President to take action is vital, and you can do that below.

You can sign a petition asking President Obama to take action to protect LGBTQ individuals here.

You can find out how to contact your representatives here and your senators here.

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Comments

  1. Eleanor Rose says:

    Very informative thank you!

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