Skip to main content

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an election campaign fundraiser in Stamford, Connecticut, August 6, 2012.  REUTERS/Jason Reed
It's been more than a year since the Obama administration told LGBT groups that the president wouldn't issue an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers—or anyway, he wouldn't issue it "at this time." The reasoning behind this decision was obviously not that Obama supports discrimination, but that he wanted Congress to take action by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act rather than having it come from the executive branch. Now, with Congress clearly not acting, LGBT advocates are asking when Obama will.
“One year ago, the White House staff gave exactly zero persuasive reasons for delaying the executive order, and it’s time for the president to build on his impressive record and fulfill this campaign promise right away,” [Freedom to Work president Tico] Almeida said. “There were no valid reasons for delaying a year ago, and there are no valid reasons for delaying today.”
The stakes are high:
A report from the Williams Institute last year estimated that 16 million workers would receive non-discrimination protections if Obama were to issue the executive order. However, that estimate applies to all workers at federal contractors — gay or straight. Based on numbers that LGBT people make up 4 percent of the country’s workforce, the report estimates that the number of LGBT people who would gain protections as a result of the directive would be between 400,000 and 600,000 people.
Congress isn't going to act on this. The Senate's dysfunction is more evident with every bill it tries to pass—background checks on gun sales being exhibit A this week—and John Boehner controls the House. Ending workplace discrimination against LGBT people is popular: In 2011, a poll sponsored by the Center for American Progress found 73 percent support for such protections.  

An executive order applying to federal contractors wouldn't protect everyone, but it would protect many, and it's under Obama's control. It's time for him to stop pretending that Congress isn't broken or that Boehner would ever let through a bill that not only protects LGBT people from discrimination but empowers anyone in the workplace, and just do this.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Angry Gays, Kossacks for Marriage Equality, and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  This has been my problem with this administration (5+ / 0-)

    I've written about this and commented on this for over a year now. I wrote this in February 2012 and it still applies:

    When we say we're disappointed with Obama's efforts for the LBGT community, it's because of ENDA, and the gay caucus in Congress is just as responsible because it got confused about how to incorporate gender identity into the bill, eventually jettisoning it. Not passing it is bad for the entire LGBT community (except for our brothers and sisters who work for the federal government), and the way the bill is currently written is disastrous for transpeople.
    I don't think an executive order is an excessive demand and it's about time he did something for all of us.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall (h/t cooper888)

    by Dave in Northridge on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:56:54 AM PDT

    •  He will always be remembered as the president (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Illinois IRV

      who allowed gays to serve in the military and pushed for gay marriage. The cause is just but Obama does have other things to do other than GLBT issues. Do many really have the expectation that all Pres Obama should do is move from one gay rights issue to another?

      •  Please provide an example... (4+ / 0-)

        of someone who has "the expectation that all Pres Obama should do is move from one gay rights issue to another."

        What a ridiculous strawman.

        But I would expect nothing less from you when it comes to President Obama.

      •  It took him years to (5+ / 0-)

        'push for gay marriage'.  In 2008 he was still spouting biblical nonsense about the subject.

        "Allowed" us to serve in the military?  How paternalistic of you.

        Gee, those pushy gay people, just asking for stuff AGAIN.  Silly us.

        you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

        by Dem Beans on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 07:47:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, and it took Lincoln years to emancipate (0+ / 0-)

          slaves, and before that was pushing to purchase them from southerners and "colonize" them back to Africa.  But he's remembered for emancipation, not whatever he thought about it before that.  

          I support the executive order, but I never understand the progressives' need to belittle accomplishments.  I guess that goes with being progressive.  It's too bad if that's the case.

      •  He will be remembered as the president (6+ / 0-)

        who was dragged kicking and screaming, in the face of an intraparty revolt and the potential loss of voters and donors, into marriage equality.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 07:54:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Do you give him (5+ / 0-)

        A pass on all the campaign promises he made?  
        He sure made a shit load of them in 08' but went back on over 90 percent of them.
        Filibustering FISA.
        No mandate.
        Easier to make a list of those he actually kept.
        Maybe he could take some time after having expensive dinners with the people who are dead set against working with him.
        5 years seem long enough for him to get the message they will not work with him.
        How much longer do you want us to wait until we get the full Rights in the US as everyone else?  

        Gitmo is a Concentration Camp. Not a Detention Center. Torture happens at Concentration Camps. Torture happens at Gitmo. How much further will US values fall? Where is YOUR outrage at what the United States does in OUR names?

        by snoopydawg on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 07:54:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Don't know if you you are being intellectually (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        dishonest, or are just ignorant, but he didn't "allow" anything.

        A movement that put him into office pushed him to do the right thing on DADT.  That same gay movement funded his re-election and therefore he "evolved" on marriage equality but certainly didn't push for it.

        Based on your analysis, anything further for LGBT equality is simply beyond Obama's reach.  Perhaps he shouldn't have lobbied for our support and run for re-election if the job is too much for him.

      •  Wow... (0+ / 0-)
        Do many really have the expectation that all Pres Obama should do is move from one gay rights issue to another?
        He hasn't actually done anything on marriage equality because there's not actually much he can do (legislative repeal of DOMA just can't happen today), so while I appreciate his moral support on that issue, I would say that his actual concrete achievement on gay issues is the repeal of DADT.

        I'm thinking that getting both the repeal of DADT and an executive order on workplace discrimination over the course of an eight year presidency is not outrageous, and certainly gives him lots of time to for "things to do other than GLBT issues."

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:02:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So you think that our President can't walk and (0+ / 0-)

        chew gum? How long does it take to sign an executive order that has already been written for you?

        Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

        by Mokurai on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:07:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Barney Frank was obsessed with bathroom politics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for trans people.

      A little while later, I found Barney without a group of people around him, so I once again engaged him in conversation. “So,” I said, “does your support of transgender inclusion in the VAWA mean that you might be changing your mind about inclusion of gender-variant people in ENDA?” An innocent enough question, but you would have thought that I was threatening him with a loaded weapon. He got red in the face and started shouting, “Never.” His problem was that until we could answer the question of “people with penises in [women's] showers,” there is no way that he would support it. The conversation got rather heated to say the least. And with Barney speaking very loudly and repeatedly about “penises in showers,” we attracted a lot of attention in the restaurant.
      Source: ENDA And Barney Frank’s Trans Penis Panic, The Transadvocate

      Don't blame me, I supported Hillary (-10.0, -9.54)

      by atana on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 07:12:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  for some reason, there is no recommend (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge, FogCityJohn

      button for this comment on my screen, but i agree with dave.

      I'm afraid that my signature won't match the mood of my comment.

      by heybuddy on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 07:24:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's because the comment is old. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This diary was just moved to the front page today, but Dave made his comment on Wednesday, so it's past the expiration date on recs.  :-/

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 08:23:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't understand the reluctance. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The president no longer has to worry about any possible electoral backlash.  As Laura points out, Congress is not going to pass ENDA, so an executive order is the only possible means of achieving anything on this front.

    Besides, even if it looked like Congress were going to pass ENDA, that possibility would hardly be an excuse for the president to do nothing.  I can't imagine that his issuance of an executive order would make congressional passage of ENDA less likely.  The people who would scream and yell about an EO are going to vote against ENDA anyway.  

    I really can't see any justification for failing to act on this.  I think it would be good policy and good politics.  A strong majority of Americans support employment discrimination protections for LGBT workers.  Why not just do it?

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 11:01:59 AM PDT

  •  "it's under Obama's control" (0+ / 0-)

    The statement from the White House that they are waiting for Congress to pass a law, which would indeed be the ideal situation, is disingenuous at best. C'mon, the White House is waiting for the Republicans to be nice to the gays? What, the White House has already done enough -- or too much?

  •  The years pass. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Martha, Steveningen, Dem Beans, corvo

    By the time I get protection, I'll be retired.

  •  president obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    can take responsibility to issue this executive order. Obama is a second term president. He supports marriage equality for all. No excuses.

    I feel you that President Obama not moving on this is ridiculous. I don't blame you.

    In the meantime, I apologize for going off thread here but I need your support to get me to Netroots Nation with a scholarship.

    Please vote for me here. Thanks!

  •  ENDA and Rob Portman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Aunt Martha

    I'd be very curious to see if someone like Rob Portman would support ENDA.  He now supports same-sex marriage, but ENDA is something that actually involve government regulation of the corporate sphere, something Republicans can't stand.

    Susan Collins, who tends to vote pro-choice, voted for the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed private, non-religious employers to deny health care (e.g. contraception) to employees based if it conflicted with their religious beliefs.

    Would Portman support a parallel cop-out here?

  •  We need a non-transphobic member of Congress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to take up ENDA and rewrite it. But is there a non-transphobic member of Congress? (Don't all stand up at once.)

    Don't blame me, I supported Hillary (-10.0, -9.54)

    by atana on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 07:20:40 PM PDT

    •  "Don't Blame Me" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Your tag line reminds me of Homer Simpson's saying, "Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos."

      I don't really care which corporate, DLC, Wall Street Democrat you supported. The machine with the sensitivity to measure the difference between Obama and the Clintons will not be available until the middle of the 26th Century.

      •  Do you support ANY Democrats at all, Ron Thompson? (5+ / 0-)

        Your words here don't make it sound like you do.

        We're big fans of dialogue and of critique. So before I go painting you with a broad brush as some sort of rabble-rouser, perhaps you are a man of true convictions; in which case, I'm certain you would divulge who you feel is worthy of praise, and who we, this site, might do better into looking into as you have supported.

        Thank you.

        Otherwise, I'm going to have to take you at your word. That's not something I'd prefer to do, but it would leave me (and others here) with little other ethical imperative.

        Who did you vote for in the general and primary elections, if you don't mind me asking? If you do, just explain why you don't want to answer this question. Do you also support candidates in local elections? If so, you don't have to name these candidates or anything if you don't want to: I'm curious to know which of their values appealed to you, plain and simple.

        Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

        by mahakali overdrive on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:10:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's worth pointing out (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy, Tony Situ, Mokurai

    that federal contractor employment protections for race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, are protected by Executive Order, not by Congressional action.

    The downside is that what one president orders, the next can take away. The only president to threaten to weaken EO 11246 was Reagan, but he backed down in the face of a veto-proof majority in Congress that threatened to codify the existing EO in law if he dared change it. I'm not hopeful that the good guys will have a veto-proof majority anytime soon, so that's a long-term maintenance worry.

    Another milder concern -- you know that form you fill out on your job application asking you to volunteer your race, gender, and veteran status? That is part of the implementation of EO 11246 -- the data is compiled and used to see if the company's hiring practices are fair, using statistical workforce models developed by the OFCCP.

    Until very recently, even companies good on LGBT issues were reluctant to ask LGBT employees to self-identify -- and for some pretty sound reasons. It could be seen as an attempt to "out" employees or get them on the record about sexual orientation in a way that is protected by current company policy but not by any employment law.

    That situation has changed, partly with state-level ENDA laws, and partly by pressure from HRC to get companies to develop a self-identification system. But that's just been within the last few years, and HRIS systems are not uniformly up to the task in every company.

    (My employer is one of the very good on LGBT issues, and maintains a 100 rating on the HRC Corporate Equality Index. It is also a federal contractor.)

    ad astra per alia porci

    by harrije on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 07:30:49 PM PDT

  •  Obama go out on a limb for teh gays?.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He hasn't even made a pretty speech about it, so it's not happening.


    Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

    by Bollox Ref on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 07:31:08 PM PDT

  •  Contrary to what one FP'er says, LGBT inequality (9+ / 0-)

    doesn't just affect upper income white collar professionals.

    Marriage Is Great, But Many LGBT People of Color Need Job Safety

    As the Supreme Court weighed arguments on same-sex marriage, Chief Justice John Roberts wondered aloud from the bench whether action on the issue by the court was necessary, because “politicians are falling all over themselves” to bring the legal rights of gay and lesbian Americans in line with those of everyone else. If only this were true. In up to 34 states it’s still legal for employers to deny jobs to citizens simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

    The lack of legal protections in two-thirds of the states for members of the LGBT community means that more people live in poverty and have a harder time making it simply because their rights aren’t on an equal footing with other Americans. This is even more the case for LGBT women and people of color, where employment discrimination fuels an even broader economic crisis.

    But these hardships can be rolled away, and we need not wait for members of Congress to finish “falling all over themselves” to make it happen. As a report released earlier this week by a coalition of non-discrimination organizations lays out, President Obama can take unilateral action right now to help more LGBT Americans secure jobs, improve living standards and live out their dreams.

    It's your victories that give you your confidence but it's your setbacks that give you your character. -Van Jones

    by Oke on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 07:57:21 PM PDT

    •  Forgot the emphasis on a vital point in my comment (7+ / 0-)
      The lack of legal protections in two-thirds of the states for members of the LGBT community means that more people live in poverty and have a harder time making it simply because their rights aren’t on an equal footing with other Americans. This is even more the case for LGBT women and people of color, where employment discrimination fuels an even broader economic crisis.
      yes, it's that important to way too many hard working, NON- white, non-white collar professionals.

      It's your victories that give you your confidence but it's your setbacks that give you your character. -Van Jones

      by Oke on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 08:03:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's time to pass (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    laws against workplace bullying.  These laws would encompass all of the behaviors typical of the people who discriminate and wouldn't require evidence of intent to prove the discrimination.

    Healthy Workplace Bill

    Additionally, this law allows for a private right of action against the perpetrator.  I believe this is necessary because managment typically does nothing to correct the perpetrators' actions, and the perpetrators typically go on to repeatedly cause problems.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 08:01:31 PM PDT

  •  He Can Keep The Base Enthused To Donate And Work (0+ / 0-)

    for him and make sure we have an electorate on election day that reflects the country's progressive consensus. Or he can shy away from it because it might annoy people who will never vote for him anyway. It is good policy and good politics. But on this and on so many issues, he doesn't see it that way.

  •  He does not (0+ / 0-)

    seem to get credit for anything so why do it.

  •  Seems odd (0+ / 0-)

    If Congress won't act the King should?  Executive Orders are a bad precedent.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site