The White House announced Friday that
President Barack Obama on Monday will sign an executive order barring
contractors doing business with the federal government from
discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender
Religious groups will not be exempt,
The New York Times reported.
The order will also, for the first
time, protect transgender federal employees from workplace
Obama announced the addition of
transgender protections during the White House's annual reception
marking LGBT Pride Month.
“I've asked my staff to prepare a
second executive order so that federal employees – who are already
protected on the basis of sexual orientation – will now formally be
protected from discrimination based on gender identity as well,”
Obama said during the East Room celebration.
“The majority of Fortune 500
companies already have nondiscrimination policies to protect their
employees because it's the right thing to do and because many say it
helps to retain and attract the best talent. And I agree. So if
Congress won't act, I will.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, applauded the move.
“With the strokes of a pen, the
president will have a very real and immediate impact on the lives of
millions of L.G.B.T. people across the country,” HRC President Chad
in a statement. “These actions from the president have the
potential to be a keystone in the arch of his administration's
progress, and they send a powerful message to future administrations
and to Congress that anti-L.G.B.T. discrimination must not be