EXECUTIVE ORDER ON GAY RIGHTS?

by Art Gutman Ph.D., Professor, Florida Institute of Technology

In a news release on 2/15/12, the Washington Blade, an advocate for gay rights, reported that President Obama is seriously considering signing an executive order that would impose sanctions and penalties on federal contractors for discrimination based on sexual identity. (see http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/02/15/the-next-champion-of-lgbt-workplace-rights/). Such an order parallels the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a statute that would add gender identity as a Title VII protected class. ENDA type legislation has been introduced in every Congress since 1994 except one (the 109th Congress), without success. The current version was introduced in 2011 by Barney Frank in House and Jeff Merkley in the Senate and remains stalled. According to the report, multiple sources have said that both the DOL and DOJ have cleared the order, but the White House hasn’t disclosed whether President Obama will issue it. This order would be enforced by the OFCCP. Stay tuned.

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