Obama administration officials on Wednesday said the president wasn't likely to sign a gay protections executive order.

Gay rights supporters had hoped Obama would sign the memo which would ban federal contractors from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

POLITICO.com quoted a senior administration official as saying that the order isn't forthcoming.

“While it is not our usual practice to discuss executive orders that may or may not be under consideration, we do not expect that an executive order on LGBT non-discrimination for federal contractors will be issued at this time. We support legislation that has been introduced and we will continue to work with congressional sponsors to build support for it,” the official said, referring to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) sponsored by Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank.

“We are deeply committed to working hand-in-hand with the LGBT community to enlist support from key stakeholders and other decision-makers, and to continue to engage with and educate the business community and the public more broadly about the importance of employment nondiscrimination and the importance of passing ENDA.”

The decision was first announced during a White House meeting attended by leading gay rights organizations, gay weekly Metro Weekly reported.

“Earlier today, we were told that the Administration is not ready to move forward with a federal contractor nondiscrimination executive order at this time,” Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said in a statement. “We are extremely disappointed with this decision and will continue to advocate for an executive order from the president. The unfortunate truth is that hard-working Americans can be fired simply for being gay or transgender. Given the number of employees that would be covered by this executive order, it represents a critical step forward.”

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