US: Obama signs Executive Order banning anti-LGBT workplace discrimination

Barack Obama has signed on July 21 an Executive Order banning workplace discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The new order only applies to federal contractors, unlike the broader Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which remains stalled in the House of Representatives. However, it has been praised by some for its lack of a religious freedom exemption, which is present in the current version of ENDA.

Speaking at the signing, Obama said: “Many of you have worked for a long time to see this day coming. Today, our government will become just a little bit fairer. It doesn’t make much sense, but today in America, millions of our citizens go to work with the awareness they could lose their job because of who they are – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender – and that’s wrong. We’re here to do what we can to make it right. To bend the arc of justice, just a little bit, in the right direction. Once I sign this order… we’re going to prohibit all companies that receive contracts from the federal government from discriminating against their LGBT employees. This is not a matter of political correctness. People lose their jobs. Their lives are threatened, their families are threatened. It’s time to address this injustice for every American. Congress haven’t gotten it done… but I’m going to do what I can, with the authority that I have. We’ve got a long way to go, but I hope [today] you are reminded of the extraordinary progress we have made. We are on the right side of history.”