In an action meant to lay the groundwork for federal passage of ENDA, the Employee Non-discrimination Act, 72 lawmakers led by Frank Pallone have sent a letter calling on President Obama to “sign an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating in the workplace based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”
It was signed by nearly half the House Democratic Caucus, and expands on a statement by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that such an executive order is “long overdue.”
The opportunity to expand protections against workplace discrimination to members of the LGBT community is a critical step that you can take today, especially when data and research tell us that 43 percent of LGB people and 90 percent of transgender people have experienced workplace discrimination. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity would protect more than 16 million additional workers.
Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 Executive Order (#11246) is cited, banning discrimination among federal contractors for workers based on color, religion, sex and national origin, saying this order “continues to stand as an important protection.”
The letter to the president follows an 110,000 signature on line petition by Freedom to Work calling on Obama to take action.
Besides its author Rep. Pallone, the letter is also signed by Rush Holt, Bill Pascrell, Steve Rothman and Rob Andrews. Andrews is the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor & Pensions, the House subcommittee with jurisdiction over ENDA. No Republican House member is signed to the letter, and Rep. Albio Sires has not signed to date (NJ-10 seat is vacant since the death of Rep. Donald Payne). Four openly gay House members also signed; Barney Frank (retiring from his Massachusetts seat), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.).